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Opinion
Justin Wolfers and Betsey A Stevenson

Six Ways to Separate Lies From Statistics

The discovery of a spreadsheet error in an influential study by Harvard University economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff inevitably raises a troubling question: To what extent can we trust what any researcher claims to be true?

The unfortunate reality is that mistakes much more serious than the one committed by Reinhart and Rogoff are far too common. Superfast computers and fancy statistical models can’t save us from human frailty. But that doesn’t mean empirical research has nothing to offer.