In today’s Wall Street Journal, you will find a wonderful excerpt from Sana Krasikov’s forthcoming One More Year and also a fascinating report on economist Emily Oster, who has abandoned an earlier finding concerning the effect of hepatitis B on sex ratios in China in light of new research.
“I’d be lying if I told you it wouldn’t be great if I was right all the time,” Ms. Oster says. “If you work like this, especially if it’s something that people care about, and you get to collect some more data that is maybe going to be even more informative than what you had before, it’s your responsibility to do that. This is the way science works.”
Osters considers her decision to revisit her earlier work an obviously sensible thing to do, and she’s right. I wish those who tackle more straightforwardly political questions would approach things the same way. But of course there are different incentives and obligations at work. I strive to be Oster-like. You should too!