Thursday, January 12, 2012

On advances in econometric orthography

Economists use jargon, and the origin of that jargon is sometimes nebulous. Most of the time, we borrow existing words and twist their meaning. But also create new words, especially in econometrics where new acronyms keep popping up and are used as words. And in some cases, words change.

Alfredo Paloyo takes the case of "heteroskedasticity" or "heteroscedasticity" and its varying orthography over time. I am myself confused about which is the right way to write it and have been inconsistent in the past. My confusion appears justified: spelling this word goes through fads, as documented by parsing through the Google book library. The second spelling was most popular until 2001, and the second is mostly preferred since. What is puzzling is that "homoscedasticity" dominates by a wide and persistent margin "homoskedasticity," indicating that authors are rather inconsistent in their spelling. For adjectives, "c" dominates "k" widely as well. What is then so special about "heteroskedasticity?" Paloyo mentions the impact of a few influential papers using that spelling. But that does not explain the inconsistencies.


Anonymous said...

*yawn*, who cares?

Vilfredo said...

With words of Greek origin, it is a no-brainer to use "k". I find it puzzling people use "c".

Alfredo said...

Thanks for picking up on the paper!