Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Naive, Scientistic "Analyses"

Don Boudreaux writes:
Bonus Quotation of the Day…

is from page 218 of the 1990 Transaction Publishers reprint of W.H. Hutt‘s 1936 book, Economists and the Public (original emphasis):
It has been possible for historians, statisticians and ‘sociologists’ to support the most appalling errors by attempting to deduce conclusions from crude summaries of facts, such as are contained in Index Numbers, without the aid of the apparatus of abstract analysis.  Frankly, we believe that if these critics of orthodox theory have attained any success and power it has been mainly due to the scope that their method has given to students to hold, within a range limited only by the most obvious absurdities, whatever views or opinions they have wished.
Indeed so.
My list of the least justifiable conclusions that are today regularly drawn from such naive, scientistic ‘analyses’ includes (1) the false notion that minimum wages do not necessarily reduce the employment prospects of at least some low-skilled workers, and (2) the false notion that ordinary Americans have stagnated economically over the past 35 or 40 years.
The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

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