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This article suggests that Edward Leamer deserves the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for launching the movement to examine critically the validity of statistical inference in empirical research. The Leamer critique caused economists to largely abandon ordinary multiple regression and to instead employ more credible research designs, such as natural experiments. In fact, he should be even more influential than he already has been. Besides highlighting the insights and teachings of Specification Searches (1978) and “Let’s Take the Con Out of Econometrics” (1983), I also treat his Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories (2009).
Podcast related to this article: Arnold Kling on Why Edward Leamer Deserves a Nobel Prize (EJW Audio, July 2020).