Freakonomics and WaPo blogs pick up Ziliak’s Guinness study

by Shaun Manning on February 13, 2012

CultStatistics and beer continue to be a winning combination, as the popular Freakonomics blog and Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at the Washington Post picked up the story of Stephen T. Ziliak’s recent paper on the study of Guinness in the Journal of Wine Economics. Ziliak, co-author with Deirdre N. McCloskey of The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives, has been an outspoken critic of research methods that elevate the importance of statistical significance over more subjective–but often more relevent–factors such as the magnitude of an effect or the quality produced.

“Gosset (1876–1937) aka ‘Student’ – he of Student’s t-table and test of statistical significance – rejected artificial rules about sample size, experimental design, and the level of significance, and took instead an economic approach to the logic of decisions made under uncertainty,” Ziliak wrote of the chemist-turned-brewer in the paper, quoted on Freakonomics. Through his work at Guinness, Ziliak states, Gossett “invented or inspired half of modern statistics.”

Read the Freakonomics post here, the Washington Post blog here, or Ziliak’s essay here. The Cult of Statistical Significance is available now from University of Michigan Press.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: