Both Levitt and Lott have had their embarrassments. Levitt had to admit that his abortion study had a critical coding error that made the abortion/crime effect seem much larger. Lott once lost some data with a hard disc crash.
Levitt trashed Lott in his book and elsewhere, and now Levitt has had to retract some of what he said. Levitt put down a Lott article as not being peer-reviewed, when in fact it was and Levitt himself was one of the reviewers!
Update: Sailer has more info.
Update: Here is more on the abortion-crime dispute:
Further, in 2005, The Economist magazine reported that two economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston determined that the Levitt-Donohue study was filled with statistical errors. The magazine opined, "To be politically incorrect is one thing; to be simply incorrect, quite another."I think that it is a little strange that Levitt uses a spokesman to make a personal attack on Lott, instead of just defending his own research.
Levitt was traveling this week and deferred comment to Donohue.
In a written statement, Donohue did not comment on either study. He instead raised questions concerning Lott's research methods and said, "I am a social scientist, however, so Lott's behavior has in my mind, put him outside the bounds of scientific discourse."