Liebowitz on the famous file sharing paper
September 26, 2007
My opinion: the authors of a massive--42 pages--lead article in one of the economics profession's top two journals--Journal of Political Economy--whose findings have been cited in the "New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Financial Times, Rolling Stone, ABC NIghtline, ABC World News Tonight, CNBC, BBC News, MTV, NPR, and Bloomberg Radio" have an extraordinary amount of responsibility. They should accept the burden of addressing careful, thoughtful criticism. They should, after a reasonable amount of time, freely share their data with other researchers so that their results can be studied, tested, and if need be, questioned.
Unfortunately, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf, authors of "The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis", don't seem to agree. Stan Liebowitz has sharply but carefully and thoughtfully attacked parts of the paper. So far he has had almost no response. And he would like to further examine the paper's main empirical results, but he has not been able, so far, to obtain the data.
Until important emprical results in economics are, as a matter of routine, carefully scrutizined and until they are provably replicable, economics will never get the respect that physics and biology and chemistry get. And that's a shame.