Conservatives' Favorite Debt Study Revealed as Fake
But Alex Pareene doubts they'll change their tune
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 17, 2013 3:32 PM CDT
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff perpetrated some really bad math.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – For years, conservatives have been crowing about a study from Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff showing that countries with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 90% usually have negative GDP growth. It's been used to justify austerity pushes around the globe. But Reinhart and Rogoff have always refused to actually reveal their data, and now a new paper has found that they excluded years of inconvenient data and made various other errors and weird choices that, when corrected, show that average GDP actually comes out positive, writes Alex Pareene at Salon.

"This is important—it should in fact be a Big Deal—because Reinhart and Rogoff have been the ultimate authorities" for austerity fans, he writes. "It is sort of shocking, to me, that respected economists can release a widely cited paper without just putting their damn Excel spreadsheet online." Reinhart and Rogoff have tried to defend themselves, but not very convincingly, writes Josh Barro at Bloomberg. "It is reminiscent of the 'fake but accurate' defense of the forged memos" questioning President Bush's National Guard service. Check out Barro's full column for an in-depth breakdown. Or click for Pareene's full post.

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Apr 19, 2013 3:17 PM CDT
Any time you throw in two private wars that are needless and without purpose it is a problem. The wars had no backing and totally on the credit card. That certainly will cause problems. Dubya was the worst CIC in American history.
Apr 19, 2013 1:52 PM CDT
Study, study, study. Cook the books and feel good about your debts, but the hard facts are that 2+2=4 and no matter how you juggle the figures to feel good or for political reasons you go broke if you spend more than you have. When your outgo exceeds your income; then your upkeep becomes your downfall.
Apr 19, 2013 2:26 AM CDT
That's what the world gets for being stuck on Excel