Prof. Lars Vilhuber, Cornell University “Replication and Reproducibility in Social Sciences and Statistics: Context, Concerns, and Concrete Measures”
Abstract: Replicability is at the core of the scientific enterprise. In the past 30 years, recurring concerns about the extent of replicability (or lack thereof) of the research in various disciplines have surfaced, including in economics. In this talk, I describe the context in which the current discussion in the social science is occurring: what are the definitions of replicability and reproducibility, what is failing, and to what extent. I discuss the currents state in economics as an example: to what extent is this a problem, what are the approaches that are being considered, and what are the possible broader implications of those approaches. Finally, I discuss the concrete measures that are being implemented under my guidance at the American Economic Association, and that are being discussed in the broader social science community. The solutions to these problems will change the way research will be taught and conducted, in economics in particular, and in the social sciences more broadly. The implications affect undergraduate and graduate teaching, research infrastructure, and habits.