Bret Stephens Issues a Correction: "About Those Income Inequality Statistics"

A victory for accuracy! David Beffert pointing out an error, amplified by me, Paul Krugman and Mark Gongloff got Bret’s attention. I very much appreciate Bret making a correction. (It may be gated.) In my judgment, what he says in the correction brings his contentions within the bounds of honest disagreement. Of course, what I said about the Wall Street Journal failing in its proofreading duties still holds. Bret should feel embarrassed; however he must be given credit for doing what is appropriate to having embarrassed oneself, in at least one very important dimension. (Another another possible dimension would be a contrite rather than a combative tone.)

In this context, you might be interested in the retraction that I needed to issue after the Reinhart and Rogoff errors came out:

As a result of that mistake, I also wanted to do our own (Yichuan Wang’s and my) analysis of the Reinhart and Rogoff data:

  • After Crunching Reinhart and Rogoff’s Data, We Find No Evidence That High Debt Slows Growth
  • Examining the Entrails: Is There Any Evidence for an Effect of Debt on Growth in the Reinhart and Rogoff Data

Update: David Andolfatto tweets that a contrite tone would have been appropriate if Bret had been replying primarily to me, but not in replying to Paul Krugman.