Why Are Replications Hot in Psychology But Not So Much in Economics?

In a recent blog at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, ANDREW GELMAN asks the question: “Why is so much of the discussion about psychology research? Why not economics, which is more controversial and gets more space in the news media? Or medicine, which has higher stakes and a regular flow of well-publicized scandals?” He then goes on to give 5 reasons.  (1) Psychology has a history of treating measurement issues in a more sophisticated manner than many other fields. (2) Psychology has been particularly prone to false confidence in experimental design. (3) Psychology is more open than other disciplines.  In particular, Gelman writes that psychology is more open than economics, “which is notoriously resistant to ideas coming from other fields.” (4) The replication crisis has touched the work of top-tier academics. (5) Psychology attracts a lot of popular attention and dazzling claims are not immediately challenged by researchers on the other side of the ideological divide, as they are in economics.  He concludes by saying, “The strengths and weaknesses of the field of research psychology seemed to have combined to (a) encourage the publication and dissemination of lots of low-quality, unreplicable research, while (b) creating the conditions for this problem to be recognized, exposed, and discussed openly.” To read more, click here.

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