Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A plague of COVID research by economists

Avinash Dixit interrupts his retirement to pen (well, to type) this very funny take on the outpouring of hasty COVID-19-related papers by economists.

A taster on the appropriate treatment for this other plague:
Treatment: The editorial process can be of immense help. It can delay the public’s exposure to papers for a  long time. It can also make the final result unreadable and therefore less likely to be disseminated widely. Requiring the authors of accepted papers to conceal their main message –wrapping it in all kinds of secondary extensions, tests, caveats, and so on – leads to substantial increase in the length of already-lengthy papers. Editors can thus ensure that each paper gets read by only a very small number of experts in the narrow topic, who are likely to be already infected in any case. Once again Economics leads the way in this, and others can follow.
On a related matter, I suspect that epidemiologists really do view economists on their turf as a plague, one I expect to last much longer than COVID-19.

Hat tip: alert in Ann Arbor

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