Data mining redux
Daniel Davies (permalinks bloggered) has an excellent post on data mining, using everybody’s favorite example of dodgy research, John Lott. I discussed the same issue here and “with specific reference to Lott, here.
In practical terms, Davies suggests that economists should keep log books recording their estimation strategies. I’ve urged this kind of requirement in the past. The scandalous fact is, however, that in the great majority of cases, economists don’t even keep their datasets, at least not in a publicly accessible form. To be fair, Lott did at least make his data available, though he didn’t record the data mining that must have been necessary to derive results that were so uniformly favorable to his case.