Could this critique apply to economics?

From an excellent article in Nature News by Ed Yong on problems with replication in psychology:

One reason for the excess in positive results for psychology is an emphasis on “slightly freak-show-ish” results, says Chris Chambers, an experimental psychologist at Cardiff University, UK. “High-impact journals often regard psychology as a sort of parlour-trick area,” he says. Results need to be exciting, eye-catching, even implausible. Simmons says that the blame lies partly in the review process. “When we review papers, we’re often making authors prove that their findings are novel or interesting,” he says. “We’re not often making them prove that their findings are true.”

I recommend reading the whole article.

2 comments

  1. Would it be somewhat different in Economics?  I think there are overall a lot of issues in Science for the moment, with skewed incentives, in hiring, payment, publishing, careers, etc. 

    I was struck by your comment about the beautiful maths in Economics (despite the messiness that is humans), whereas psychology frequently love the messiness and weirdness that is human (but are not always terribly good at the maths and modeling – with large exceptions of course.) Either way could lead to problems with the field.  

    1. Over the last few years, there has been a growing number of “Freakonomics” style papers using strange and novel data sets in all sorts of new areas. When I asked the question in the title, my thoughts tend towards them.

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