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How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the easier-this-way dept.

Math 305

schwit1 (797399) writes A survey of professional academic economists finds that a large percentage are quite willing to cheat or fake data to get the results they want. From the paper's abstract: "This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered 'questionable,' e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice."

That less than 4% engage in "data fabrication or plagiarism" might seem low, but it is a terrible statistic . ... 40% admit to doing what they agree are "questionable" research practices, while 94% admit to committing "at least one unaccepted research practice." In other words, almost none of these academic economists can be trusted in the slightest. As the paper notes, "these behaviors are widespread.""

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What does it matter? (-1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 months ago | (#47356313)

12.765% of astrologists make shit up, so what.

Re:What does it matter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356459)

The largest group of people who commit professional misconduct are climate change scientists. They make up 95%+ of the shit they spew on the airwaves; they shouldn't even be grouped into the same general profession as people like chemists and physicists.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356529)

Unless you have proof of that - proof that will make it into scientific journals - then I suspect you're a member of that largest group of people who commit misconduct: the idiot who is an expert on everything.

Re:What does it matter? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356711)

http://dailycaller.com/2014/06... [dailycaller.com] NOAA's been changing temperatures to fit a computer model of what temperature data should be, instead of just using the data.

Re:What does it matter? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47356987)

Unless you've read the papers on why they make the adjustments and what they do to make the adjustments you're just making shit up to fit your worldview. Something you could probably do is get the raw data and the adjusted data and compare them. You'll find the difference isn't that large.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357265)

NOAA's been changing temperatures to fit a computer model of what temperature data should be, instead of just using the data.

Hey! Did you know that your brain inverts the image that your eyes perceive to fit the model of which way is "up"? Everything is a lie.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356979)

Go back to Yahoo Comments where you fit in.

Re:What does it matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357363)

Really? I'd say it's psychology as a field that produces the most bad science. Utterly subjective criteria, no scientific rigor, and coming to arbitrary conclusions based on already flawed data (i.e. saying that porn makes people into women haters because they were asked questions after watching porn and they suddenly supported reduced sentences for rapists).

Want a study saying that video games don't cause violence? Want one that says they do? There's a study for everyone! And worst of all, people believe this nonsense and cite these studies as if they're going to debunk someone's arguments. What a pitiful situation.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357611)

Medicine isn't far behind. People have been complaining about this for years. It is bad/misused stats. The null hypothesis needs to be predicted by your theory. When people use the opposite the logic is messed up, yet this method has been spreading like a disease from educational research, to psychology, to the social sciences, to medicine/biology, and most recently to the historically better sciences of physics and astronomy. I do not know about chemistry.

Re:What does it matter? (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47356715)

100% of astrologists make shit up. it's pretty much the definition for it...

Fool themselves (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 months ago | (#47356865)

Ah but apparently 87.235% of astrologers are so good at making shit up they even manage to fool themselves into believing it's real!

Re:Fool themselves (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47357269)

Ah but apparently 87.235% of astrologers are so good at making shit up they even manage to fool themselves into believing it's real!

No, I bet that is pretty close to 100% too. There are a lot of stupid people in the world.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357401)

Astrologists aren't in charge of the Federal Reserve, attempting to influence the economy and ruining it in the process. They aren't the ones lying to the people every day, telling them that devaluing their currency is good for them, hoping all the while that the public doesn't wise up and lynch them for the heinous acts they are committing.

Re:What does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357505)

Yeah more of something means it's automatically weaker, like more mass devalues gravity /eye roll.

dead on (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 2 months ago | (#47357419)

They are economists. Their "profession" is somewhat less respectable than astrologers. Anyone who puts any faith in anything that they say deserves to be a victim of their fraud. Sure, our whole economy might suffer, but since there is no real science to anything to do, it would suffer no matter if they used unaccepted research practices or not.

Re:What does it matter? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47357555)

Because governments over the last couple centuries (other than perhaps the Reagan administration) don't do stupid stuff based on what astrologers make up.

Like you don't do the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356329)

You are a hippocruite.

Re:Like you don't do the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356367)

It's spelled "hippocrat", stupid!

Political/Moral (1, Troll)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47356365)

These are people who analyze and predict the health of countries. Of course their results are more politically motivated than evidence based. Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster? If economists had known in advance of one of the great depressions that it was going to happen, and releasing the results would of only sped-up the collapse, should they release the information? And it will always be better politically for the government to be just as surprised as everyone else when things go belly up, instead of being the president who predicted, but was unable to solve, the coming collapse.

Re:Political/Moral (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 months ago | (#47356405)

Never trust an economist, until you've checked his math. Even then, you don't trust him. You've got to understand economics so well that you can recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

I participated in a discussion three years before it burst. My take then was, "I don't know how bad it can be, but it sure as hell won't be pretty!" I'm not even an economist, but I knew the shit would hit the fan. All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

Re:Political/Moral (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356583)

> You've got to understand economics so well that you can recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

Fundamentally economics is the study of human psychology. At some point it goes beyond the kind of math that you can "check."

> Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47356997)

> Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

Yeah. They're the group to focus on. The people who said a pile of shit was worth its weight in gold.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47357341)

Yeah. They're the group to focus on. The people who said a pile of shit was worth its weight in gold.

Them? Or the people who believe? Like the GP said, it's a psychological thing.

Re:Political/Moral (2)

Lynal (976271) | about 2 months ago | (#47356803)

...[you need to] recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

As an economist, I want to reiterate that point.

That said, I wouldn't take the article at face value. Look at how they describe 'unaccepted research practice.' Playing devil's advocate, splitting research into smaller publishable piece makes sense if you want to get it out as quickly as possible. Or their statement about checking the contents of work cited? Do they mean ensuring that works cited are correct? Because that's ridiculous, no one can do that. Or do they mean glancing at the work cited? Because that's equally ridiculous.

Re:Political/Moral (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 months ago | (#47356811)

I knew the shit would hit the fan. All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

They were lying.

Like many aspects of the DotCom bubble before it, the housing bubble was thoroughly well understood and predicted by pretty much every observer (and discussed as such by those with integrity). The only people who said otherwise were those who were participating for their own benefit, and who well understood the risk to themselves of prematurely bursting their giant Ponzi scheme.

Similar liars will crawl out of the woodwork to pump up the next bubble too, I'm sure.

Re:Political/Moral (3, Insightful)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 months ago | (#47356845)

Yup, but I don't think any were worried that suddenly looking for and then telling the truth would burst the bubble. They just knew that promotions, endowed chairs, year end bonuses, etc, were not going to be handed to the pessimists saying "you know that thing we're doing that's making all the money? Stop it. Right now."

Re:Political/Moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356913)

Why would they stop it, though? It worked out great in the end. The money didn't just evaporate: the right people made a killing in that scam.

Re:Political/Moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357109)

Who is this "right" people? I know of a few investors who lost millions (one of them lost about 4 million to be precise, and now currently lives in a worse house than I do.) I have a very different story to tell though...

My family came out of it with a $110,000 or so net gain because we happened to sell our house at the right time. House was bought around $105k in 1993 or so, sold at $220k or so in 2005 (IIRC) when it was appraised at $300k (did a VERY short sell. It's peak value during the bubble was $400k or so back in 2004 I think.)

New house we have now was bought at $100k; the county assessor just sent us a notice saying it's supposedly worth $185k and they're going to tax us based on that value.

Are we the "right" people you speak of? Modest $60k income, and definitely no "special connections" to speak of.

(Captcha: "wrinkles")

Re:Political/Moral (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 months ago | (#47357011)

The next bubble is student loans, and it's already very far along in the pumping process.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47357361)

The nice thing (for politicians and the bankers that own them) is that students have no political power whatsoever. So they can be ignored and told to turn around and take it up the ass.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47357637)

The nice thing (for politicians and the bankers that own them) is that students have no political power whatsoever. So they can be ignored and told to turn around and take it up the ass.

I tell college students, "It's your own damn fault."

A German scientist told me, "I don't understand what's wrong with these American students." In Germany, when they tried to impose a $1,000 school fee, "We were demonstrating in the streets."

The basic problem seems to be that European students are organized, with strong organizations behind them. The socialist parties and unions organized them. We had that here http://www.peteseeger.net/talk... [peteseeger.net] and it worked well. Now it's gone.

We got Occupy Wall Street because some Canadians generously came down and showed us how it was done. It picked up for a while and then it died down. I hope it will have an influence on people.

Re:Political/Moral (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357783)

We got Occupy Wall Street because some Canadians generously came down and showed us how it was done. It picked up for a while and then it died down. I hope it will have an influence on people.

They were designated a terrorist threat and the FBI shut them down. Nationwide.
This is not a conspiracy theory, it is backed up by FOIA documents. [theguardian.com]

Re:Political/Moral (2)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 months ago | (#47357465)

The next bubble is student loans, and it's already very far along in the pumping process.

Let's hope the whole thing collapses and students get back their right to go bankrupt.

I believe that in order for the free market to work, the banks who made bad loans should take the hit and go out of business. Their investors should lose their investment. That would make them more prudent in the future.

Re: Political/Moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357717)

No it would not. Boom and bust are the way any dynamic pocess works unless it is to attenuated for current stimuli. You may try to limit damage and arrange safety net in case thing go wrong but wave like dynamics will appear again and again.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47357097)

There were a few who predicted it (Dean Baker comes to mind) but nobody wanted to listen to them. Like you I could see the crash coming a couple of years before it happened (maybe because I did listen to them).

Re:Political/Moral (1)

stms (1132653) | about 2 months ago | (#47357129)

All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

You say that as if they share some kind of mutual exclusivity.

The entire Republican party predicted it, and warn (2, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47357319)

> Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

That would be pretty much the entire Republican party. Here's Ron Paul explaining exactly what would happen, in 2002. This is six years before the collapse:

http://www.ronpaul.com/2008-09... [ronpaul.com]

Re:The entire Republican party predicted it, and w (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47357643)

Dot-com was a more productive use of capital, but Greenspan popped that. Also, markets aren't very efficient on their own. Sure, slavery produced more cotton than the post-Civil-War south did, but only by using force and ignoring unalienable rights. Markets left to themselves leave a lot of people out, and even finance founder Fischer Black thought markets were only efficient to within a factor of 2 [cruel.org] . So that house might cost $50k or $200k, a wide spread for salesmen to profit. That's what Paul thinks is better than government trying to help poor people? Let the salesmen get rich off arbitrage while the poor stay homeless?

Re:Political/Moral (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47357397)

Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

A bunch of people predicted it. They were ignored.
"Irrational exuberance" Greenspan called it

Here's a website devoted to documenting the people who predicted the bubble
http://investorhome.com/predicted.htm [investorhome.com]
They even quote Warren Buffet calling derivatives "time bombs."

Re:Political/Moral (-1, Flamebait)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 2 months ago | (#47357507)

Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

    Jesus H Christ! How about everybody aside from lefty morons? It was inevitable as soon as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were more-or-less required to lower their lending standards by legislative fiat.

      Go back into the record and note the conservative opposition to these bills, based on exact the perfectly predictable end results you are whining about.

      We had something like 2000 years to develop standards for loaning money, guess what, when you piss that away for social engineering, this is exactly what it going to happen. The current "fixes" actually make it worse, so you also have to have a spate of new regulation to prevent the banks from kicking people out of their house for the insignificant problem that *they can't afford to pay for it*. Then you bail out the banks with taxpayer money. It's a death spiral.

        Brett

Re:Political/Moral (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47357709)

Who forced the banks to inflate $10.6 trillion in mortgage debt into $62 trillion in derivatives [milkeninstitute.org] ?

The defaults alone weren't the problem. The groupthink and perverse psychology of the private sector was the problem. Government just wanted to help people get homes. The greed of the private sector created such a mess that everything crashed because of their shenanigans.

If government was guilty of anything, it was not being cynical enough about the moral hazards and perverse incentives that drive markets.

Re:Political/Moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356435)

Sometimes it is more important to pop a balloon before it gets too big and explodes too violently, even if some people will be hurt.

Re:Political/Moral (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47356891)

And it will always be better politically for the government to be just as surprised as everyone else when things go belly up

No.... politically speaking: it's in the government's best interest to take any action possible to delay the next downcycle in the economy, kick the can down the road JUST A LITTLE BIT ---- just a few more years, so the collapse happens when the next guy is elected (preferably a candidate from the opposite party: so they will get blamed), even if doing so INCREASES the ultimate amount of damage, strife, and pain, the people will feel during the next down cycle. Politics actually favors increasing the total amount of pain, as long as the politicians are able to cowardly delay it, so it doesn't happen during their term, therefore, they escape the voter outrage over the issue.

This is why there will always be enough votes to raise the debt ceiling and keep the US government spending.

Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster?

If mere knowledge of economic facts would be at risk of causing a disaster, then the disaster is practically already a certainty, because that truth is inevitably going to eventually be discovered.

The sooner a bubble or distortion is discovered, the sooner the correction begins, the smaller correction begins, and the quicker the recovery: assuming there is no government interference, which almost always tends to create new distortions and slow down the recovery.

It is natural that the economy operates in periodic cycles of prosperity and recision. Government-distortion tends to attempt to distort the cycles by delaying recessions, and ultimately --- increasing their magnitude.

Re:Political/Moral (0)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47356951)

The private sector lives by kicking the can down the road. Banks borrow every day to kick the can down the road. Kicking the can down the road was invented by the private sector and is used all the time. To say government can't use the same mechanism is unrealistic, because it works so well for the private sector.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 2 months ago | (#47356929)

Dave Barry described this in some 'detail' (from Bad Habits [google.com] ):

What we are in is a recession. The key economic indicator of a recession is that government economists go around announcing that the economy is improving. The truth, of course, is that government economists don't have the slightest notion what the economy is doing; if they did, they would have decent jobs. But they keep trying. Every few days they come out with some economic statistic and attempt to explain it, using charts and pointers, to the news media:

["press release" omitted]

Government economists are always hopeful, for two reasons:

  1. They have jobs.
  2. If they aren't hopeful, the President wil fire them.

So government economists go around with big smiles on their faces all the time. For the past thirty years, presidents increased spending and deficits like clockwork, and the government economists smiled. Then Ronald Reagan said he was against big spending and deficits, and the government economists smiled. Now it turns out that spending and deficits are still going up, and the government economists are still smiling. Phyllis George would be a good government economist.

Re:Political/Moral (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47356961)

And standards of living have been going up, because technology keeps advancing. Deficits don't matter. They are a distraction. The advance of knowledge and technology should be the real focus.

Re:Political/Moral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357177)

Inside Job (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1645089/ explains the darker side of economist's and their banker buddies. I watched it last night, just fucking unbelievable.

Moral Solution (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 months ago | (#47357019)

Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster?

Even in this situation it still does not make it ethical to fudge the data and lie: you simply shut up and say nothing. To know whether it would be ethical to reveal the truth you need to know the consequence of keeping quiet. For example if you found that a certain company was in financial trouble but still had a chance to pull through (and were acting to maximize that chance without dragging in new investors) you might keep quiet to help avoid financial disaster for those affected. However it would still be wrong to fudge the data and publish a report claiming that they were financially sound.

how often _________ commit misconduct? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 months ago | (#47356391)

your opinion is important. only your vote counts.

Some things I've noticed (3, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47356393)

Depending on what policy a politician wants to push he can cite either traditional economics or Keynesian economics as part of his speel to push a bill. Economists are conflicting in their advice. Sure you can make a real good case for aiming for a surplus because that is good for the nation in the long run. But a lot of politicians are in it for their own personal gain in the short run. They'll borrow from the debt, have a spending party that feels good for a short run, but put the nation in a worse state for the long run. It is unsustainable and only benefits the elite who get crony deals.

Also scientists are supposed to be pretty unbiased, but the marketing people who use their unbiased data will take it out of context. A marketing person can tell you to put radioactive waste on your face because science has said it gives you a radiant glow. You think I joke, but I saw Lucky Charms touted as a health food on tv some years ago because a science study said oats are good for the heart and Lucky Charms has oat pieces. On top of that, it's not hard think there are times where scientists also get pressure from the corporation funding their science to give them the results they want. Just like economists might get pressure too.

Re:Some things I've noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356537)

Except certain approaches, for instance Keynsian, actually have a track record of success in the 20th century. As long as success is not defined purely ideologically (and good luck with that ... )

Re:Some things I've noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357689)

Also scientists are supposed to be pretty unbiased, but the marketing people who use their unbiased data will take it out of context. A marketing person can tell you to put radioactive waste on your face because science has said it gives you a radiant glow. You think I joke....

You don't realise how far from a joke you are: I present radioactive toothpaste [wikipedia.org] to make your teeth shine white.

You don't bite the hand that feeds you (4, Insightful)

Sean (422) | about 2 months ago | (#47356407)

Who purchases the services of economists? Who consumes their work product?

A lot of economists are paid by central banks one way or another:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

One useful tactic for managing the economy is manipulating public opinion. Especially the opinion of those members of the public who manage huge quantities of other people's money. The job of the economist then is not necessarily to discover the true state of the economy, but to convince others that is it in a certain state in order to influence their behavior.

Re:You don't bite the hand that feeds you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356651)

This. As an aside,

Old joke (modified from accountants to economists and simplified):

There were three candidates for a job. The interview concluded with the same question - What does 2 + 2 equal?
The Engineer said "4." Every time? "Yes, every time."
The Statistician said "4." Every time? "Well, plus or minus 3%"
The Economist said "4." Every time? He got up, closed the door, pulled down the blinds and asked What would you like it to be?"

New Joke:

Random /. quote of the day? "The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side." -- James Baldwin

Re:You don't bite the hand that feeds you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356695)

If you are implying that governments employ corrupt economists, then you have to realize that people will figure out that they are getting a raw deal from the ensuing defective policies. When people spend their money (or pay it in taxes), they expect an equivalent benefit in return. This is why there is such resistance to government controlled health care. In too many instances, governments haven't held up their end of the deal.

Re:You don't bite the hand that feeds you (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47357151)

As far as I can see government mandated universal health care coverage has worked well in nearly all of the countries it's been implemented in with better outcomes and less cost than we have in the US. Can you name any countries where that isn't true?

A sampling of hot button economic issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356415)

- illegal immigration
- legal immigration (H1B caps)
- expansion of casino gambling
- Obamacare (government involvement in health care insurance)
- legalization of marijuana
- government tax breaks and seed money for clean energy R&D
- government funding of bullet trains
- higher income taxe rates for the wealthiest taxpayers

Which of these are beneficial or detrimental to our economy? Pretend that you're a professional economist for a moment, now pick any of these and flip a coin to determine which side you'll take (assume that outside forces may make it worth your while, wink wink....)

Think you'll have any problem putting together some research papers that prove your point, many times over? Probably not.

Re:A sampling of hot button economic issues (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47356745)

Down the "AC" list:
illegal immigration: Provides union free workers that nobody will care for, no health and work place safety inspections. Limb loss or a toxic work environment is not an issue. Great for low wages protecting high valued added prices on an industrial scale where robots just are not ready yet.
Some profits flow back to local and federal politicians as donations. A thank you to keep the boarders wide open.
Young fit dreamers get free citizenship in the military for the next round of distant wars and occupations vs the unfit, criminal or not so smart clogging up local recruitment lists.
Due to citizenship status they might not be listed as real US mil deaths in combat - great for press spin after the Vietnam draft numbers.
legal immigration (H1B caps) turns your expensive science degree into an expensive framed diploma mill fashion statement. Great for low wages protecting high valued added projects. All you need is a US front company for compliance and political lobbying. The rest can be done by people fearful of been returned for cents on the $.
Government involvement in health care lets the private health sector use 'death panels' under the cover of the big evil federal gov while legally collecting new plan payments from everybody.
legalization of drugs is a "state rights" sheltered workshop for local growers/shops. They pay taxes and employ locals vs the usual bulk transports up from southern parts of the Americas that just brings in token federal law enforcement grants.
clean energy R&D - massive boondoggle for the politically connected site owners. State/federal sheltered workshop for local scientists selling the dream of 'exports'. Projects big coal long term.
Government funding of bullet trains - a fun way to grab land, put down new track, buy a new rail system (communications, repair), local jobs and a massive boondoggle in renting 'services' from the politically connected suppliers (locals and imports)
Higher income tax rates for the wealthiest taxpayers - the US has many tax professionals that can protect generations of wealth to the point of been a charity that enjoys tax payer grants. This has never been an issue for the wealthiest taxpayers and is a trick question.

Re:A sampling of hot button economic issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357239)

Perhaps the

40% admit to doing what they
agree are "questionable" research practices, while 94% admit to committing "at
least one unaccepted research practice."

just means that 40% have an extra marital affairs with their student body, and 94% admit sleeping with a doctoral student at least once.

One of these things is not like the others... (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47356453)

"Plagiarism" does not belong in the same bin o' offenses as data fabrication. The former commits an "offense by definition because citations get academics off", an "offense" solely of non-attribution; while the latter produces fraudulent and untrustworthy outcomes.

By the time 200 people have cited the same landmark study's findings, I can guarantee you that half of them have "paraphrased" it into the exact same thing. The whole idea of plagiarism amounts to a race to the bottom as to who can rephrase something otherwise-simple in the most awkward manner possible

So when a new study lumps plagiarism in with fabricating data, we see all too plainly what really drives this shit - Credit, credit, credit. Publish or, worse than perishing, you get stuck actually *gasp!* teaching those obnoxious freshmen your name attracted to the school in the first place.

Re:One of these things is not like the others... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47357331)

So when a new study lumps plagiarism in with fabricating data, we see all too plainly what really drives this shit - Credit, credit, credit. Publish or, worse than perishing, you get stuck actually *gasp!* teaching those obnoxious freshmen your name attracted to the school in the first place.

It's also the influence of capitalism, and corporatism. The grant money has to come from somewhere. If you want to keep getting it, you're going to need to maintain your reputation.

hmmm (5, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47356463)

I'll just leave this here...

MonkeyDex

Some indexes are more fun than others. MonkeyDex is the first index of Internet stocks picked by a monkey. When it was created in January 1999, Raven, a 6-year-old female monkey, tossed darts at a dartboard plastered with the names of 133 Internet-related stocks. This year the board carried 281 company names.

Raven, who has her own Web site, showed up many of Wall Street's finest minds with a 213 percent gain for 1999. Had Raven been employed at a Wall Street mutual fund, her performance would rank her as the 22nd best money manager in the country, outperforming more than 6,000 Wall Street pros, according to the Internet Stock Review, creators of the MonkeyDex.

"It's all in the wrist action," Raven is reported to have said.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356919)

Why?

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357023)

Because wallstreet fund managers are economists, uh doy!

If you lay all economists end to end from north to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356481)

"If you lay all economists end to end and north to south, they will still all point different directions".

Keynesians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356501)

I wonder how much higher the percentage is for Keynesians...

Climate Science (0, Offtopic)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 2 months ago | (#47356513)

So where is the same study for the other politically influenced sciences such as Climate Science? Or should we make assumptions about the political motivations of the researchers behind *this* study?

Re:Climate Science (1)

Michael Simpson (2902481) | about 2 months ago | (#47356685)

Beat me to it. Why all research must be scrutinized and verified by independent sources.

Re:Climate Science (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#47357659)

More importantly, it must be reproducible. Reproducibility is more important than third-party verification because otherwise you run into Quis custodiet ipsos custodes problems. At a very minimum they need to be able to explain how they got their results.

Re:Climate Science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356721)

You remind me of the Christians who go into completely unrelated boards and turn everything into an anti-abortion debate.

Re:Climate Science (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47357099)

Oh sure,bring abortion into this debate. Asshole.

Re:Climate Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356825)

But the science behind climate has already been settled. It was voted on and approved in a stunning majority. It is dishonest to question it.

Re:Climate Science (0)

DogSqueeze (3592869) | about 2 months ago | (#47356889)

LOL. True...

Re:Climate Science (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47357193)

The beautiful thing about hard sciences such as climatology is that they are based on real physical phenomena. It's all out there for anyone to discover. All you have to do is find a better explanation than the climate scientists to overturn the existing theory.

Re:Climate Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357203)

If there isn't one, you could be the first to publish it. You can copy the methodology used on the study here, assuming it is sound, and do it on climatology, physics, anything.
Let us know what you find out.

Academics? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 2 months ago | (#47356617)

If 94% of academic economists have fudged things to make their papers look better - what about commercial economists, where they have a stronger financial incentive? What about political economists?

At first I was worried - but then I realised their trust level is already slightly below that of lawyers.

Re:Academics? (1)

Copid (137416) | about 2 months ago | (#47357759)

If 94% of academic economists have fudged things to make their papers look better...

Actually, 94% engaged in some form of "unaccepted" behavior, a category which appears to include such sins as self-plagiarism.

"scientific misbehavior"!!? (3, Informative)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47356639)

Economy as such is not a science.

Economic systems are fundamentally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356647)

... legal in origin, not scientific. Since money itself is an invention that doesn't exist in nature, it is entirely fabricated.

Re:Economic systems are fundamentally.. (1)

the biologist (1659443) | about 2 months ago | (#47356677)

Ecology is an economy of energy, instead of money, but much of the same principles apply.

Re:Economic systems are fundamentally.. (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47356993)

Because molecules raise their prices if there's an increase in the energy supply?

Re:Economic systems are fundamentally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357589)

That would probably lead to a decrease in prices. Now if the energy DEMAND increased...that's different.

Re:Economic systems are fundamentally.. (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47357721)

I'm a photon and I demand more energy!

Re:Economic systems are fundamentally.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47356877)

you going to say the same thing about physics? that's what you're saying anyways.

now you can say that economics is a subset of sociology - rightfully so. but that doesn't really mean that you should be pulling research data out of your ass if you're doing economics or sociology. unless of course you want to go to work in venezuela and see that tactic in full swing..

Economists (4, Funny)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 2 months ago | (#47356679)

A civil engineer, a chemist and an economist are traveling in the countryside. Weary, they stop at a small country inn. "I only have two rooms, so one of you will have to sleep in the barn," the innkeeper says. The civil engineer volunteers to sleep in the barn, goes outside, and the others go to bed. In a short time they're awakened by a knock. It's the engineer, who says, "There's a cow in that barn. I'm a Hindu, and it would offend my beliefs to sleep next to a sacred animal." The chemist says that, OK, he'll sleep in the barn. The others go back to bed, but soon are awakened by another knock. It's the chemist who says, "There's a pig in that barn. I'm Jewish, and cannot sleep next to an unclean animal." So the economist is sent to the barn. It's getting late, the others are very tired and soon fall asleep, Bu they're awakened by an even louder knocking. They open the door and are surprised by what they see: It's the cow and the pig!

study of statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356689)

I would like a study that finds how often do people misuse statistics to make a point.

Re:study of statistics (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 2 months ago | (#47356755)

It's about 99%, give or take...

Re:study of statistics (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 2 months ago | (#47356759)

p.s. What do you want it to be?

An oldie, but a goodie (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 2 months ago | (#47356769)

A Fortune 500 company was interviewing for a CFO, and narrowed the field down to 4 candidates - a mathematician, a market researcher, a statistician, and an economist. Because they were so close in every other respect, they brought all 4 in together for an executive panel interview.

The CEO asked the interviewees "What's 2+2"?

The mathematician replied "Four".

The market researcher said "Ha! I heard you asked the tricky questions! So..." - and here he rustled through the pile of paperwork he'd brought with him - "...yesterday I surveyed 100 second grade teachers, and the most common answers ranged between 3 and 5".

The statistician looked sideways at the columns of figures in front of the market reseacher, spent a few minutes jotting on a napkin, and said "I can state with 95% confidence the answer is four".

The economist glanced at the rest of the candidates with barely-disguised pity, leaned over the desk, and whispered in the CEO's ear...

"What would you like it to be?"

Let's be reasonable here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47356815)

Well, ok, but do you know how hard it would be to prove anything if you actually had to stick to the facts? They'd all be out of a job!

Its no wonder... (1)

TodoRojo (1106857) | about 2 months ago | (#47357041)

Its no wonder that conservatives don't trust the research coming out of academia on many other issues, such as global warming, psychology/psychiatry, etc. They have come to expect this kind of behavior from a system that "peer reviews" itself when its members are not representative of the general public's viewpoint. Over 75% of academia self-identifies as liberal.

Re:Its no wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357743)

Conservatives didn't trust Galileo's observations, either.

fir57! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357123)

BE NIGGER! BE GAY! Non-fucking-existant. WORLD-SPANNING your own beer

How often do they commit misconduct? (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 months ago | (#47357231)

Every time one of them opens his/her mouth.

Any and all data unverified should be inadmissible (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47357251)

What we need is an academic separation of powers.

Those who collect data should not be the same as those that analyze it. And neither of those groups should store the data.

Data should be collected by professional data collectors that don't care about the meaning of their data and have nothing to prove by collecting it. They should merely be judged on the quality and quantity of their data. Nothing else.

That data should be submitted to an archiving department... call them librarians or archivists or whatever.

Then analysts can pull from that data and base their studies on it.

In the case that an analyst does not have the information he needs in the archive, he submits a request for the data to the archive which then posts the data request publicly as a job order to collect that data.

The data collectors get the information, submit it to the archive, and EVERYONE can see the data.

Doubtless someone has a problem with this... I don't claim to have a perfect system here. I just think too often the sources for things and the information is not readily available.

If they must cite information in the archive then they can't make it up without outright lying about what they saw in the archive.

And even then we could establish some automatic data cross referencing protocols that allow us to instantly link and cross reference claims with their data sources and instantly highlight any discrepancies. This requires that the "papers" be coded to facilitate this process but that just requires a program to stamp the correct code in the correct syntax into the document. The researchers don't need to know how to do that. They just need to run the program, key in the source of the data in the field, and then the linking code should be automatically generated.

Make as a part of every submission a computer check of the files. Anything cited that doesn't exist in the archive gets flagged... and thing cited from the archive that doesn't match the archive gets flagged.

The actual validity of the claims cannot be checked by computer. But we should be able to ensure data integrity.

Rigging the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357451)

Reminds me of the time the jobs numbers miraculously dropped from 8.1% to 7.8% in a single month, just in time to try to influence the 2012 election.

http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

Less than 4% engage in data fabrication (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47357525)

The parent says this is highly troubling. Not necessarily. Is this number significant? (Cannot check myself AORN due to the paywall.)

The Economist Has No Clothes (2)

F34nor (321515) | about 2 months ago | (#47357541)

http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

Mar 17, 2008 By Robert Nadeau

RTF, if not Economics are about as scientific as Chinese medicine.

troll bait (admittedly) (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 2 months ago | (#47357551)

Without reading further than the title, my answer is:
too fucking often to be forgiven. The interest rate when I was born was 18%. Enough said.

Do they know that? (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | about 2 months ago | (#47357757)

As a professional in finance,I've had to wrestle with economists. To a large extent, the profession itself is a fake: the ultimate employer is the Sovereign, who will look askance on anybody saying that it either goofed or that he must get smaller.
start with this in your mind 30 years back, fast forward, and you'll see that macroscopic events in the Economy dept. get ignored, simply because they are in opposition to the academic thought.
I can give you an example: it made the papers in Italy that the European powers that be are starting a study of Abenomics [wikipedia.org] , with a view to applying it here. While as an Italian I can understand the politicians' liking of a mix of runaway deficits, easy money and public investment, this disregards a number of problems:

1.most of the Abenomics tenets are already in place, to no perceived improvement;
2.public spending as a percentage of GDP is way above 50% in most places here, so the actual tax base is shrunk;
3. and last, there's an example that worked that the politicians are emphatically ignoring.

the example is Canada [mapleleafweb.com] . it exited the 2008 crisis better than Europe, in part because of his proximity to the USA and the free trade it has with that nation, but also because it embraced a reduction in the public sector, and a control/reduction of tax pressure.
Do you believe in that causality? after 25 years tallking with these shamans who are called economist, my opinion is "insufficient data": economy is a dismal science. BUT, it worked. and Europe is studying a failing policy simply because it is similar to what they want to do.
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