This Data is Different
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's This Time Is Different has been an extremely influential book. Their even more influential work on the relationship between economic growth and indebtedness has recently come under attack for major data errors and problems. A team of economists at University of Massachusetts Amherst find coding errors, selective data exclusion and unconventional weighting techniques in the Reinhart and Rogoff study (click here for paper), which contradicts their claims that debt levels above 90% of GDP reduce economic growth.
This is not just a debate amongst academics.This debate is important because governments around the world have used Reinhart and Rogoff's work to justify their austerity policies. You can read coverage of this debate and the Reinhart and Rogoff data problems at the Economist, FT, and Harvard Business Review.