I spend a fair amount of energy encouraging my coworkers to use R because you can write reusable code that means checking for errors is simple and you can re-run it on different data sets without having to manually copy and paste all your data and fix up any indexing if it’s the wrong length.
There’s been a bit of buzz recently about how two economists really dropped the ball when they published a paper showing that high levels of national debt as a percentage of GDP slows economic growth. I won’t write any more about it because it’s been done by better writers and statisticians, but I’d like to bring your attention to the following articles:
- The original working paper (National Bureau of Economic Research)
- Replicating the results (Political Economy Research Institute) was only possible by making huge methodological and data selection mistakes (Next New Deal)
- This may have led to massive avoidable unemployment around the world (The Guardian)
- The authors should gracefully retract, admit they were wrong and move on (Andrew Gelman’s blog)
- And to use R (Phil at Gelman’s blog) rather than Excel (Andrew Gelman)
- There are many reasons to not use Excel, such as it providing the wrong answer for paired t-tests and being terrible at generating Normal random numbers.