I hate that “Iron Law” thing

November 13, 2017

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Dahyeon Jeong wrote:

While I was reading your today’s post “Some people are so easy to contact and some people aren’t”, I’ve come across your older posts including “Edlin’s rule for routinely scaling down published estimates.”

In this post you write:

Also, yeah, that Iron Law thing sounds horribly misleading. I’d not heard that particular term before, but I was aware of the misconception. I’ll wait on posting more about this now, as a colleague and I are already in the middle of a writing a paper on the topic.

I was especially curious about this, so I’ve searched your blog and CV, but I didn’t find a relevant follow-up post/article on this topic. If there’s indeed no post on this, I would really look forward to reading it at some point in future.

Jeong’s email was in 2016, and my quote above is from 2014. In the meantime, Eric Loken and I finally wrote that paper: it came out early this year. Here’s our article, and here and here are some relevant blog posts.

So we do make progress. Slowly.

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