You Can Quote Me on That

April 21, 2013

(This article was first published on Econometrics Beat: Dave Giles' Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The other day I came across the Empirical Quotes page on Mark Byran’s blog. Some of his quotes related specifically to econometrics, and I thought I’d share a few others. That certainly doesn’t mean that I agree with them all!

“It is the preparation skill of the econometric chef that catches the professional eye, not the quality of the raw materials in the meal, or the effort that went into procuring them”. (Zvi Griliches)

“The art of the econometrician consists in finding the set of assumptions which are both sufficently specific and sufficiently realistic to allow him to take the best possible advantage of the data available to him”. (Edmond Malinvaud)
“Econometric theory is like an exquisitely balanced French recipe, spelling out precisely with how many turns to mix the sauce, how many carats of spice to add, and for how many milliseconds to bake the mixture at exactly 474 degrees of temperature. But when the statistical cook turns to raw materials, he finds that hearts of cactus fruit are unavailable, so he substitutes chunks of cantaloupe; where the recipe calls for vermicelli he uses shredded wheat; and he substitutes green garment dye for curry, ping-pong balls for turtle’s eggs and, for Chalifougnac vintage 1883, a can of turpentine”. (Stefan Valavanis)

“Doing econometrics is like trying to learn the laws of electricity by playing the radio.” (Guy Orcutt)

One that I obviously don’t agree with:

“As a method of economic analysis econometrics is a childish play with figures that does not contribute anything to the elucidation of the problems of economic reality”. (Ludwig von Mises)
And finally:
 “In that flash of darkness he heard people saying – he was a failure – that R was beyond him”. (Virginia Woolf)

© 2013, David E. Giles

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