Thursday, 2 May 2013

The #Error economy

Ever worry about balancing your checkbook, making the budget stretch to the end of the month? Count yourself lucky, you can't screw it up on this scale.
In a story that reads like a Simpsons episode in which Barney Gumble tries his hand at economics, and makes a mess of it only to have Lisa figure out where it all went wrong, it has been revealed this week that a popular study cited as proof of conservative economic austerity, was fundamentally flawed due to a spreadsheet error. The column that calculated the average growth of countries employing Keynesian growth strategies  omitted references to a number high performing countries. Correcting the error saw the growth rate rise from -0.1% to +2.2%.
The error was found by a graduate student who chose the study for an assignment in which students were asked to pick a study and see if they could reproduce the results.

Oddly, the authors of the study still say that their conclusions still match the original data. Hey kids, denial is not a river in Egypt.

The study has been used in the US to justify the "need" for federal spending cuts, and in Europe it has been used to justify Austerity measures that have seen riots in the UK, Greece and mass public protests other austerity addled nations.

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