Written by Svetlana Dotsenko
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Thomas Herndon is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst working on a simple homework assignment - pick an economics paper and see if you can replicate the results. Thomas tried Growth in a Time of Debt, a famous manuscript of two Harvard Professors, and a paper that argues that economic growth slows dramatically when the size of a country's debt rises above 90% of Gross Domestic Product, the overall size of the economy.
No matter how hard Herndon was trying, he could not replicate the results. "My heart sank," he says. "I thought I had likely made a gross error. Because I'm a student the odds were I'd made the mistake, not the well-known Harvard professors."
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