Thursday, November 10, 2011

"There's a lot of Confirmation Bias Out There"

in 2010, self-described libertarian Daniel B. Klein and Zeljka Buturovic published a paper indicated that self described liberals scored worse than libertarians or conservatives on a set of economics questions. However, Klein writes:

But one year later, in May 2011, Buturovic and I published a new scholarly article reporting on a new survey. It turned out that I needed to retract the conclusions I’d trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal. The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions.

Good on Klein for publishing a conclusion so uncongenial to his own admitted biases.

A full tabulation of all 17 questions showed that no group clearly out-stupids the others. They appear about equally stupid when faced with proper challenges to their position

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