Lessons from ReinhartRogoffgate
A number of weeks ago, I had a post on the data errors in Reinhart and Rogoff's famous 'austerity' paper.
So what are the lessons for the economics profession of ReinhartRogoffgate?
Lesson 1: Diversity is good. The errors in Reinhart and Rogoff's paper were discovered by economists working at UM Amherst. Amherst's economics department is not typical as it is heterodox i.e., open to economists who are not from the mainstream neoclassical school. You can read a Washington Post article about this department here.
Lesson 2: Economics is not a 'hard' science. Economics is not physics and quantification in economics is of limited use when it comes to measuring relationships between variables. Quantification is useful in physics as there are laws of nature which do not change (i.e., g - the acceleration of gravity on earth = 9.8 m/s^2). You can read Samuel Brittan's opinion piece on this issue here (hat tip - Graham Brownlow).