Vad ska man säga på en vetenskaplig konferens?

Deirdre McCloskey gästade Stockholm i förra veckan, och hon nämnde då att ekonomipristagaren George Stigler hade formulerat förslag på vad man ska säga när man kommenterar andras uppsatser på nationalekonomiska konferenser. Eftersom kommentarer tenderar att vara desamma föreslog Stigler att det borde räcka att ange bokstäver och siffror beroende på vad man har att säga. I ”The Conference Handbook”, publicerad i Journal of Political Economy, anger han dessa koder:

Introductory Remarks

A The paper is a splendid review of the literature, but unfortunately it does not break new ground.
B The paper admirably solves the problem which it sets for itself; unfortunately, this was the wrong problem.
C What a pity that the vast erudition and industry of the author were misdirected.
D I am an amateur in this field so my remarks must be diffident  and tentative. However, even a novice must find much to quarrel with in this piece.
E I can be very sympathetic with the author; until 2 years ago I was thinking along similar lines.
F It is good to have a nonspecialist looking at our problem. There is always a chance of a fresh viewpoint, although usually, as in this case, the advantages of the division of labor are reaffirmed.
G This paper contains much that is new and much that is good.
H Although the paper was promised 3 weeks ago, I received it as I entered this room.


1 Adam Smith said that.
2 Unfortunately, there is an identification problem which is not dealt with adequately in the paper.
3 The residuals are clearly non-normal, and the specification of the model is incorrect.
4 Theorizing is not fruitful at this stage; we need a series of case studies.
5 Case studies are a clue, but no real progress can be made until a model of the process is constructed.
6 The second-best consideration would, of course, vitiate the argument.
7 That is an index number problem (obs., except in Cambridge).
8 Have you tried two-stage least squares?
9 The conclusions change if you introduce uncertainty.
10 You didn’t use probit analysis?
11 I proved the main results in a paper published years ago.
12 The analysis is marred by a failure to distinguish transitory and permanent components.
13 The market cannot, of course, deal satisfactorily with that externality.
14 But what if transaction costs are not zero?
15 That follows from the Coase Theorem.
16 Of course, if you allow for the investment in human capital, the entire picture changes.
17 Of course, the demand function is quite inelastic.
18 Of course, the supply function is highly inelastic.
19 The author uses a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.
20 What empirical finding would contradict your theory?
21 The central argument is not only a tautology, it is false.
22 What happens when you extend the analysis to the later (or earlier) period?
23 The motivation of the agents in this theory is so narrowly egotistic that it cannot possibly explain the behavior of real people.
24 The flabby economic actor in this impressionistic model should be replaced by the utility-maximizing individual.
25 Did you have any trouble in inverting the singular matrix?
26 It is unfortunate that the wrong choice was made between M1 and M2.
27 That is alright in theory, but it doesn’t work out in practice (use sparingly).
28 The speaker apparently believes that there is still one free lunch.
29 The problem cannot be dealt with by partial equilibrium methods; it requires a general equilibrium formulation.
30 The paper is rigidly confined by the paradigm of neoclassical economics, so large parts of urgent reality are outside its comprehension.
31 The conclusion rests on the assumption of fixed tastes, but (of course) tastes have surely changed.
32 The trouble with the present situation is that the property rights have not been fully assigned.

Mina favoriter är F och H samt 1, 21 och 24. Vilka är dina? Nu gäller det bara att plugga in dem och hoppas att andra också gör det inför nästa konferens!

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Written by Niclas Berggren

26 maj 2010 den 5:23

Publicerat i humor, nationalekonomi

7 svar

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  1. Att alternera 23 och 24 känns som en vinnande strategi :-)

    Fredrik P

    26 maj 2010 at 8:55

  2. G måste väl kompletteras med ”Unfortunately, that which is new isn’t good, and that which is good isn’t new.” Jag tror till och med att någon skrev så i en recension, men jag kan inte hitta det ursprunget.


    26 maj 2010 at 8:57

  3. Jag inser plötsligt att det inte är helt ovanligt att jag använder mig av kommentar 20 i olika sammanhang.

    Mr Profit

    26 maj 2010 at 9:02

  4. En innovativ version av H är att hoppas på att de som deltar i konferensen ska vara med och författa artikeln i fråga. ;-)

    Och a propos 21, så föredrar jag nog Wolfgang Paulis ”..that´s not even wrong”.


    26 maj 2010 at 10:18

  5. Annars är väl tystnad ett bra svar. Det finns två sorters tystnader: den ena är för väldigt bra papper som man inte kan lägga till nåt till, och den andra är för så dåliga papper/presentationer att det inte går att uttrycka något vettigt om dem.


    26 maj 2010 at 10:54

  6. Fruktansvärt roligt! Ska ta med på nästa konferens.


    16 maj 2011 at 8:11

  7. Låter typiskt. Fast värst är ryssar mot varandra, vad jag har sett iaf.

    Och så finns det ändå folk som tror att forskare konspirerar och döljer sanningen, om UFOn, Roswell, 9-11, vaccinrisker, vakuumenergi, klimatforskning, …

    ”Did you have any trouble in inverting the singular matrix?” Lol.

    Lennart W

    16 maj 2011 at 11:18

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