Skip to main content

When an article is at war with itself

Image result for war clipart

It is odd to see an academic peer-reviewed paper in which the actual substance of the paper seems to diverge so completely from what the authors say are their conclusions.

This is the case, though, in a new paper by Cecile Carpentier and Jean-Marie Suret, dealing with the question: do stock price declines create a plausible deterrent for industrial accidents?

Here's the link: JofEEM.

Here's the abstract:

We analyze the stock market reaction to 161 major environmental and non-environmental accidents, reported on the front page of the New York Times for half a century. To determine if the market induces a real deterrence effect, we extend the event windows up to one year. On average, the market reacts negatively and enduringly to the announcement of an accident. However, this average effect is largely driven by the airline industry and by government interventions. The estimated average compounded abnormal return following environmental accidents does not differ from zero after one year. This does not exclude, in severe events affecting large firms, huge losses in equity value, but the significant negative cumulative abnormal returns estimated immediately after an environmental accident in previous studies do not persist. Our results suggest that in a market driven by institutional investors, the deterrence effect is likely to be weak.

You can perhaps see the problem there. In two waves even within that brief paragraph, the authors seem to be acknowledging and then working against the inferences one would draw directly from their data.

First, the market reacts "negatively and enduringly to the announcement of an accident." That would seem to indicate that the answer to the underlying question is "yes, this is a deterrent." Then they say in effect "if we massage the data properly we can get a 'no' answer after all."

Then a second wave. Yes, they say, even as massaged, their data shows that in "severe events affecting large firms" there could be huge losses in equity value from such accidents. But (applying further lotion and massaging again) that'll turn out to be weak. Phew, desired conclusion attained.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …