Chatelain, JeanBernard (2010): Can statistics do without artefacts? Published in: Prisme No. 19 (December 2010): pp. 139.

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Abstract
This companion paper to Chatelain and Ralf (2012), “Spurious regressions with nearmulticollinearity” put their results into the contexts of the history of statistics, of the current publication bias in applied sciences and of the substantive versus statistical significance debate. This article presents a particular case of spurious regression, when a dependent variable has a coefficient of simple correlation close to zero with two other variables, which are, on the contrary, highly correlated with each other. In these spurious regressions, the parameters measuring the size of the effect on the dependent variable are very large. They can be “statistically significant”. The tendency of scientific journals to favour the publication of statistically significant results is one reason why spurious regressions are so numerous, especially since it is easy to build them with variables that are lagged, squared or interacting with another variable. Such regressions can enhance the reputation of researchers by stimulating the appearance of strong effects between variables. These often surprising effects are not robust and often depend on a limited number of observations, fuelling scientific controversies. The resulting metaanalyses, based on statistical synthesis of the literature evaluating this effect between two variables, confirm the absence of any effect. This article provides an example of this phenomenon in the empirical literature, with the aim of evaluating the impact of development aid on economic growth.
Item Type:  MPRA Paper 

Original Title:  Can statistics do without artefacts? 
Language:  English 
Keywords:  Spurious regressions, statistical significance, nearmulticollinearity, classical suppressors, growth, development aid 
Subjects:  O  Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O4  Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity > O47  Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; CrossCountry Output Convergence F  International Economics > F3  International Finance > F35  Foreign Aid C  Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C5  Econometric Modeling > C52  Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection C  Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C1  Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General > C12  Hypothesis Testing: General P  Economic Systems > P4  Other Economic Systems > P45  International Trade, Finance, Investment, and Aid B  History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches > B1  History of Economic Thought through 1925 > B16  Quantitative and Mathematical B  History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches > B4  Economic Methodology > B41  Economic Methodology 
Item ID:  42867 
Depositing User:  JeanBernard Chatelain 
Date Deposited:  28. Nov 2012 13:21 
Last Modified:  15. Feb 2013 08:15 
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URI:  http://mpra.ub.unimuenchen.de/id/eprint/42867 