Steve Levitt's Correction Letter
Many comments have been posted on this letter based upon the news story written on it in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but few have seen Levitt's actual correction letter. Levitt at least acknowledged that he sent multiple problematic "emails" over more than one day. Among those commenting on the original news stories please see Ted Frank, Ben Zycher, John Palmer, Craig Newmark, Robert Wallach, Clayton Cramer, Larry White, Steve Sailer, Xlrq, Jonathan Adler, Michael Munger, Steve Sailer again, Glenn Reynolds, Say Uncle, Jode Shoo, Singular Values, and
The Corner. The letter contradicts many of the false claims made in Levitt's book (he knows that everything in his book about me is false). One part of Levitt's letter that has not gotten any attention is the one that I think was his most important, his statement that:
The Chronicle of Higher Education has had a couple of articles on all this, including characterizing Levitt's letter as offering "a doozy of a concession."
See this from the Chronicle.
See also this:
According to the motion, new facts have come to Mr. Lott’s attention since last year that significantly alter the character of his complaint. For one thing, he says, new information has come out about what he calls Mr. Levitt’s malice toward him. The motion alleges that Mr. Levitt has publicly referred to Mr. Lott as “the anti-Christ” and that Mr. Levitt “offered publicly to pay colleagues if they would humiliate” Mr. Lott. (Mr. Levitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment today.)
One point that wasn't directly mentioned by anyone is that Levitt's response when asked to backup is claim that others hadn't replicated my research was that the research papers were not refereed. Not only is Levitt acknowledging that the papers backed up and replicated my research, but he is admitting that the papers that did so were refereed.
The date on this letter does not match when I received it.
Update: See also this follow up filing.
Here is the exchange that Levitt had with economist John McCall on May 24th and 25th, 2005:
Email from John McCall to Steven Levitt
You also state that others have tried to replicate [Lott’s] research and have failed. Please supply me with appropriate citations so that I might check for myself.Email from Steven Levitt to John McCall
There was a NRC/ natl acad of sciences panel I was part of about research on guns that came out in 2004. That will point you in the right direction. . . .Email from John McCall to Steven Levitt
Hi Steve,Email from Steven Levitt to John McCall
I went to the website you recommended -- have not gone after the round table proceedings yet -- I also found the following citations -- have not read any of them yet, but it appears they all replicate Lott's research. The Journal of Law and Economics is not chopped liver. . . .
John McCall PhD
John,Email from John McCall to Steven Levitt
It was not a peer refereed edition of the Journal. For $15,000 he was able to buy an issue and put in only work that supported him. My best friend was the editor and was outraged the press let Lott do this.
Returning to the $15,000 bribe issue of JLE and -- although I have not yet gone (I will find it tomorrow) to the NRC/natl. acad. of sciences panel you recommended -- I am wondering whether those deliberations were published somewhere, and, if so, who paid for that. Could such not have been essentially the same thing? I noticed that this issue of JLE was the results of a conference on crime safety and guns that was sponsored by AEI and the Yale Center for Studies in Law. I understand how your best friend the editor could have been outraged, and I hope he had the principle to resign his position in protest. However, we all eventually realize that an editor is but a small cog in a big wheel.Email from Steven Levitt to John McCall
John, if you read the paper by Duggan in JPE, and Ayres and Donohue in Stanford Law Review, and the NAS/NRC report (which was not paid for by anyone, it is done by the National Academy of Sciences), you will see the other side of the debate. Steve