Phi Beta Cons

More On the Journal of Political Economy’s File-Sharing Study

I noted awhile back that there was a controversy over a Journal of Political Economy paper claiming, ridiculously, that file-sharing hadn’t hurt the music industry. Superstar academic Steven Levitt edited the issue. Via John Lott (who doesn’t get along with Levitt) comes a long excerpt of an investigation into the matter:

It looked like a routine decision that Steven Levitt had to make. The co-editor of the “Journal of Political Economy” (JPE) … had to accept or reject a comment written by the Dallas-economist Stan Liebowitz on an article which had been published in the JPE. … The comment was phrased very strongly. It was a thinly veiled assertion of data-manipulation. …
Levitt asked for a report from an impartial referee. The referee recommends publishing the comment in order to “save subsequent researchers from building on a flawed research foundation.” While he advises Liebowitz to rephrase his comment such that it would not contain any overt assertions of data manipulation he sides with him on almost all the critical points and comes to a damming conclusion regarding the file-sharing article: “I would suggest that the authors’ conclusions are not warranted given the analysis and evidence that they provide.”
However, Levitt is not inclined to publish the comment.

Liebowitz also does a lot of work on housing, and I interviewed him for an NR story about the mortgage crisis.

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