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'Animated discussions' on precision of statistical methods: RBI Governor Das

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Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday said that there have been "animated discussions" on the precision of statistical methods in recent times.

"The doctrine - even tradition - of statistical significance in scientific research has come under some cloud for its veracity and the journal American Statistician published a special edition on this issue earlier this year. Critics allege that these tests are susceptible to manipulation in order to make desired results significant, and undesired results non-significant," Das said at the Statistics Day Conference here.

In a recent paper which came under heavy criticism from the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian had used 17 high-frequency indicators that correlate with the GDP to suggest that India significantly over-estimated its GDP figures from 2011-12 onwards.

Das on another occasion said that some important results may be discarded at the conception level itself just because they are highly unlikely.

"Similarly, an opportunity to 'cherry-pick' variables is available. In other words, correlations can be conveniently extended to establish spurious causality," Das said.

The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister had earlier in a "point-to-point" rebuttal to Subramanian's paper on over-estimation had alleged that the author had "cherry-picked" high-frequency indicators to conclude that India over-estimated its GDP figures.

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