Empirical research (applied): the science of finding explanatory determinants; ‘what’s going on ?’.

So by now if you have managed to read a few of the blog posts below, you may be starting to develop an understanding for what this site is all about.

We are really interested in rugby.  Here’s how we work.

We identify something we’d like to understand better that has not been previously researched (this is known as applied as  opposed to purely theoretical academic research – not that there is anything wrong with being theoretical, we just like working with real life situations).

We think hard about what could be going on and form some ideas.  We try to see if economic theory can help us think about the possible answer.

We start to formulate a theory (organised thoughts) to explain what is going on.

We gather relevant past data, we only use high quality reliable data sources e.g. we use World Bank country data.

We test our theories on the data using statistical software.  It gives us answers and we see how well we have done.  We can also test if specific ideas we have are supported by the data.

We write up our findings.  Then we repeat the above process.

Given the timing, our main focus in recent months has been the Rugby World Cup.  Hence we have looked into the past determinants of success in the 7 editions of RWC that have been held to date.  We are reporting on them in the blog at present.

One really important thing. Subjective opinion only works for us as a default.  We don’t like as it can be wrong (there is a branch of economics called behavioural economics that is has identified numerous potential biases in human decision making).  Our strong preference is to test ideas formally on relevant data per above (when we have the relevant data).  We believe that the application of science makes any conclusions we then draw much more robust than pure opinion.

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Empirical Rugby

Empirical Rugby is a blog that provides fundmental insight into rugby union using empirical analysis of rugby data.

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