Saturday, July 16, 2011

Anybody's culpa?

In what might be considered a commissioned blog post, Jonathan Robinson manages to dig up some comments that Steven Levitt would probably like to rebury.

It is, of course, possible to make too much of a bad call or even a bad argument. If the penalty for being wrong is too high it inhibits the conversation, but there does have to be some kind of accountability. When you're this far off on something this big, you really ought to do something: modify your reasoning, concede that your assumptions may need some work, maybe even just acknowledge the error but dismiss it as an anomaly.

Instead, we have a debate where, as Paul Krugman has repeatedly pointed out, no one ever has to admit he or she is wrong. You will occasionally see someone step up, but it's strictly done on a volunteer basis.

Maybe we need to go beyond the honor system on this one.

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