Why Peer Review Matters…

Those who have been following the news of late have probably heard about the infamous 2010 paper “Growth in a Time of Debt” by Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. Their research indicated positively for austerity measures and has figured prominently in recent debates about deficit spending. The paper was never subjected to the peer review process and a new study, “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff”, out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst by graduate student Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin, which replicated the Reinhart and Rogoff study found that:

Coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies in the post-war period. (p.1)

Check out the Austerity’s Spreadsheet Error segment and an interview with Thomas Herndon from the ‘Colbert Report’ which aired on April 23rd.

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One response to “Why Peer Review Matters…

  1. This drives the point home so well. Peer review is critical not just “because it is a nice thing to do” but because it matters and it makes an impact in the real world. Thank you for writing this!