FiveThirtyEight: Be skeptical of both Piketty and his skeptics


I’m not particularly worried about the outcome of all this criticism of Piketty’s book and analysis, as I said before I think most of his policy recommendations are pretty Utopian at best. That said, I think it’s fascinating that we’re getting more and more exposure to the back and forth of what Nate Silver rightly calls peer review in his article. This view of how the sausage is made, so to speak, should help bolster the faith that economists know what they’re doing, even when they don’t agree. At the very least, it may make more people aware that they are not data literate. Data literacy is not a skill I would criticize one for not having, but there is an inherent problem when someone thinks they’re able to either trust (or not trust) statistics based on the data if they aren’t at least somewhat data literate. For those of us who either can’t or don’t want to pore over data for any poll or analysis we read, understanding the criticisms and the statistical design behind said poll or analysis is a good intermediary step (and one that sadly few people ever take).


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