Dubin, Robert
October 1966
Industrial & Labor Relations Review;Oct66, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p95
Academic Journal
This article presents a reply to the article "Industrial Conflict: The Power of Prediction," written by Orley Ashenfelter and William S. Peirce. The statistical tests employed are non-sensitive when so few cases are involved and the data vary over a wide range. With only nine entries in the pre-prediction period, it would take an exceptionally tight fit for one to have confidence in the existence of a trend line. Ashenfelter and Peirce solved the problem of increasing the number of cases in order to make the statistical test more sensitive by calculating the trend over the entire nineteen-year period. When this is done, four of the five trends show a significant negative slope. There is a much better way to improve the data, by increasing the number of cases in order to make the trends less influenced by the small number of cases and the variability of values among the cases. Ashenfelter and Peirce take much too literally the meaning of their coefficients of correlation as discussed in their eighth paragraph. There is no sensible meaning which can be given to the statement that industrial conflict is, or is not, significantly correlated with the passage of time.


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