Selection on the dependent variable 

Filling the pail

Imagine you are striving to make a mark in the world of business. Now, let me sell you a book. In this book, I describe the visits that I have made to all the funkiest, most fashionable and most profitable companies on the planet. What’s more, as I’ve visited each of them, I’ve made a little list of their attributes. And I am prepared to share with you exactlywhat characteristics these companies have in common.

Are you sold?

You shouldn’t be because I’ve performed a sleight of hand. I have implied that the characteristics that I have identified are somehow related to the success of these companies but we have no way of knowing this.

Imagine, for instance, that I find my top companies splash out on lavish Christmas parties and I weave that into a narrative about how they make their staff feel valued. What we don’t know…

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