Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ed Morrissey — The Perils of Piketty

In order to get an expert look into the controversy over Thomas Piketty’s work and the Financial Times’ exposé of the errors and “constructs,” I asked Ricochet writer and my good friend King Banaian to break it down for us. King also has a Saturday morning show on KYCR in the Twin Cities on economics and business policy, and is a professor of economics at St. Cloud State University. King is also a senior fellow at the Center for the American Experiment.
King concludes:
But how do you do that without doing things that could be construed as biased towards your outcome? It is a basis of scientific analysis that we agree what the data are, but it seems in some cases Piketty is saying “this is my data, there isn’t a perfect dataset out there, if you think you can do better go ahead.” Well, that is hardly a defense for your own data being definitive, Professor.

No single graph or statistical analysis will ever convince someone that the theory he didn’t think was true in fact is true. Scientists value results that are robust, meaning the results are the same across different times and places. This last error appears to make Piketty’s results less robust and so less likely to change anyone’s mind about what they already thought of inequality, and more likely to make Capital in the 21st Century an expensive, unread table book.
My conclusion about Banaian : FUD. Shooting from the hip because on cognitive bias. No substantive response in terms of analysis. Poor showing that speaks only to those with confirmation bias, i.e., preaching to the choir.

Hot Air
The Perils of Piketty
Ed Morrissey

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