Friday, July 10, 2009

Getting Your Data Straight

I've made progress on the paper I'm working on. Unfortunately, this week has been a good illustration of a quote from McCloskey: I believe it went something like "90% of writing is getting your thoughts straight, and 90% of empirical work is getting your data straight."

Unfortunately, my data wasn't straight - I realized that I had used the wrong data code (a certain type of dividend distribution) from CRSP. So, my previous analysis was basically crap (that's a technical term for the unitiated) and had to be redone using the proper data set.

Luckily, it looks like my primary results after using the proper code, but with a few minor changes. For now, I'm still doing the preliminary descriptive stuff. Since I did the initial version of the paper in a hurry (hey - it was a conference deadline), I took a few shortcuts. This time, I'm going back to step 1 and going over every line of code, and (just as important), making sure I know how the sample changes at each point. As a result, I'm much more confident with my data this time around.

But doing the descriptive statistics is still (to me) about the most boring part of the paper. Still, it's gotta be done.