Not Junk? A Question for Arnold
By Bryan Caplan
The junk-science aspect is to look at correlations and say that they prove what intuition and common sense might wish to be true. I just do not believe that it is possible to use correlation to untangle the relationships among health, socioeconomic status, and intelligence.
But my view is that the statistical tricks are just that–tricks. That is why I don’t care much for Steve Levitt’s work.
So if ordinary statistical work is junk, and clever Levitt statistics is junk, what empirical work is worthwhile, if any? It’s one thing to say that no statistical work gives FINAL ANSWERS. I agree with that. But it’s another thing to say that statistical work is WORTHLESS, and it almost sounds like that is Arnold’s claim.
Arnold, please tell us: What’s not junk?