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When other researchers re-evaluated the study, they found that data collected using those records ‘lead to the opposite conclusion from that reached by’ Card and Krueger.” (source) “It was only a short time before the fantastic Card-Krueger findings were challenged and debunked by several subsequent studies…in 1995, economists David Neumark and David Wascher used actual payroll records (instead of survey data used by Card and Krueger) and published their results in an NBER paper with an amazing finding: Demand curves for unskilled labor really do slope downward, confirming 200 years of economic theory and mountains of empirical evidence (source) And now let’s look at how lefty sites present this picture: “…a long-debunked paper [by Neumark and Wascher]” (source) “Note that your Mises heroes, Neumark and Wascher are roundly debunked.” (source) “Neumark’s living wage and minimum wage research have been found to be seriously flawed…based on faulty methods which when corrected refute his conclusion.” – (source) “…Neumark and Wascher, a study which Elizabeth Warren debunked in a Senate hearing” (source) So if you’re conservative, Neumark and Wascher debunked Card and Krueger. I think in many cases it’s easy to understand why a study is wrong, you should try to do that, and once you do it you can safely discount the results of the study.
But if you’re liberal, Card and Krueger debunked Neumark and Wascher. I’m not against pointing out when you disagree with studies or think they’re flawed. But “debunked” and “refuted” aren’t saying you disagree with a study. They’re saying “the authority of the scientific community has come together and said this is a piece of crap that doesn’t count”. But you had better make sure that you’re calling upon an ex cathedra statement by the community itself, and not a single guy with an axe to grind.
They write “Instead of 1 in 5, the real number is 0.03 in 5.” So the first thing I will mock The Federalist for doing is directly comparing per year sexual assault rates to per college career sexual assault rates, whereas obviously these are very different things.
You can’t quite just divide the latter by four to get the former, but that’s going to work a heck of a lot better than not doing it, so let’s estimate the real discrepancy as more like 0.5% per year versus 5% per year.
I’m kind of harping on this point, but it’s because it’s something I didn’t realize until much later than I should have.
However, faced with this discrepancy a reasonable person might say “Hmm, we have two different studies that say two different things. My last essay, Beware The Man Of One Study, noted that one thing partisans do to justify their bias is selectively acknowledge studies from only one side of a complicated literature.
But taking these as representative closes your mind and gives you a skewed picture of academia.
On many issues, academics are just as divided as anyone else, and their arguments can be just as acrimonious as anyone else’s. If you like a study, you can say that it did the best it could on a difficult research area and has improved upon even-worse predecessor studies.
And so if the first level of confirmation bias is believing every study that supports your views, the second layer of confirmation bias is believing every supposed refutation that supports your views. I saw this same dynamic at work the other day, looking through the minimum wage literature.
There are certainly things that have been “well-refuted” and “debunked”. The primordial titanomachy of the minimum wage literature goes like this.