Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Economist reports on the cricket study

A few months ago, I reviewed a cricket study, by Shekhar Aiyar and Rodney Ramcharan, that purported to show that rookie players who debuted at home had longer careers than those who debuted on the road.

The authors argued that this was because cricket decision-makers looked at the players' raw statistics for their debut, and neglected to adjust for home-field advantage (HFA) when doing so. Therefore, they incorrectly concluded that the home players were better than the road players.

However, my take was that the data showed no such thing. I argued that while the "decision makers are improperly ignoring HFA" hypothesis was not refuted by the data, neither was the "decision makers are acting correctly" hypothesis. In other words, the sample was not large enough to distinguish the two hypotheses, and the authors simply privileged one of them over the other.

There's now a new version of the paper (.pdf); I haven't gone through it, but it looks pretty much the same as the old.

In addition, The Economist recently ran an article on the study. They reported on it uncritically, and I think they may have missed part of the point -- my reading is that they seem to believe the study also discovered HFA, instead of just quantifying it.

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