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STICERD Econometrics Seminar Series

Statistical Non-Significance in Empirical Economics

Alberto Abadie (MIT)

Thursday 07 March 2019 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Significance tests are probably the most common form of inference in empirical economics, and significance is often interpreted as providing greater informational content than non-significance. In this article we show, however, that rejection of a point null often carries very little information, while failure to reject may be highly informative. This is particularly true in empirical contexts that are fairly common in economics, where data sets are large (and becoming larger) and where there are rarely reasons to put substantial prior probability on a point null. Our results challenge the usual practice of conferring point null rejections a higher level of scientific significance than non-rejections. In consequence, we advocate a visible reporting and discussion of non-significant results in empirical practice. “It is usual and convenient for experimenters to take 5 per cent. as a standard level of significance, in the sense that they are prepared to ignore all results which fail to reach this standard ...” R.A. Fisher in The design of experiments (Fisher, 1935)

STICERD Econometrics seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Professor Tai Otsu and Dr. Vassilis Hajivassiliou.

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

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