Corrected Winter Quote

12 July 2009 at 3:08 pm 4 comments

| Peter Klein |

I misquoted Sid Winter in this post. Here’s what he actually said:

“High standards for statistical techniques are tending to crowd out high standards for performance on the central scientific task, causal explanation.”

I was going from memory, then later found the exact wording in my notes. The meaning is the same, but I wanted to correct this for the historical record.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Boettke  |  13 July 2009 at 8:07 pm


    Is there a paper (and link) to where he said this?


  • 2. Peter Klein  |  14 July 2009 at 6:33 am

    Pete, it was part of his discussant’s remarks at the DRUID Summer Conference (the Thursday session on “Strategy and Competition”) I’m not aware that he’s said anything like this in print.

  • 3. Peter Boettke  |  14 July 2009 at 6:51 am

    Thanks Peter — if you see it in print please let me know. One of my favorite methodological points from Winter (and Nelson) is their distinction beween appreciative theory and formal theory. When I was at Stanford, Nelson gave a paper in Milgrom’s seminar that I regularly attended on this distinction. Everyone there thought it meant that we had an intuition, and then eventually we would treat it formally. Nelson was frustrated but didn’t really correct anyone. Being young and naive (and extremely cocky) at the time, I raised my hand and argued, guys you are missing the point, Nelson is saying that our appreciative theory often times out distances our formal theorizing — it is not an immature stage of thinking, but actually a better way of thinking. Nelson said, Yes, that is what I am arguing. At which point, the disagreements started to be expressed in a more heated fashion about the nature of progress in economics and the role of formalism.


  • 4. jc spender  |  14 July 2009 at 6:58 am

    Given that for many people there is precious little light between explanation and statistics, this is a gnomic Sid-like way of expressing what many others see as the rigor versus relevance gap – attention to method crowding out attention to phenomena of importance.

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