Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 1, 2012

in Curious Task, Data, Economics, Science, Scientism

… is from page 19 of Peter Bauer’s and Alan Walter’s 1975 article – published in the April 1975 issue of the Journal of Law & Economics – entitled “The State of Economics“:

The prestige of econometrics has probably contributed to the widespread tendency to forget that in social study quantification is often, perhaps even generally, meaningless without going behind the figures.  This applies to almost all phenomena investigated by economists.  The meaning of poverty; the volume of unemployment; the significance and value of public expenditure; the interpretation of changes in export earnings; the implications of indebetedness; all depend on information which requires some knowledge of the background to the figures.

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