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Even though this has hugely affected how America's economy is being handled, and even more so the EU's, this is going to fly right by most people because it's about economics and data on a spreadsheet being manipulated either carelessly or with an agenda. Either way, the gist of it is that the conclusions were dead wrong in a report by "economic luminaries" that was considered so important that it was used by governments all over the globe as the basis for how to handle the economic collapse. I've included two articles about it: one written for the casual reader and one written for a more serious frame of mind.

More below the decorative orange curlicue.

For the casual reader, this particular article could easily be passed over as nothing more than a feel-good win for the amateur v. the pro if the subject weren't so important.

How a student took on eminent economists on debt issue - and won
By Edward Krudy | Reuters – 39 mins ago

In the world of economic luminaries, it doesn't get much bigger than Reinhart
and Rogoff, whose work has had enormous influence in one of the biggest economic
policy debates of the age.

The following article has more in the way of red meat.  I can't emphasize enough the fact that Paul Ryan pointed to the work by Reinhart and Rogoff in his 2013 budget, "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal" to justify substantial cuts in spending, etc. European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn also used it to justify the austerity measures under which Europe is suffering.
Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff and There Are Serious Problems.
Apr 16, 2013 Mike Koncza

They find that three main issues stand out. First, Reinhart and Rogoff
selectively exclude years of high debt and average growth. Second, they use a
debatable method to weight the countries. Third, there also appears to be a
coding error that excludes high-debt and average-growth countries. All three
bias in favor of their result, and without them you don't get their
controversial result. Let's investigate further:

Commenter "FullChat" noted in a different diary on the subject of the UMASS student's discovery:
Would it be appropriate to mention that Reinhart's husband is a fellow at AEI and that Rogoff gets a lot of ink at Heritage?

Coincidence? I think not.

It's pretty hard to screw up that badly on your data. And as many have said, why Excel? SAS would be preferred...

Couldn't have said it better myself so I didn't even try.
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