economics

dabblelicious / flickr.com

Some call it the spreadsheet error heard 'round the world. 

The 2010 Reinhart-Rogoff paper, Growth in a Time of Debt, was the most authoritative report providing hard data on why government spending needs to be cut. Too much debt, the study said, impedes economic growth.

But a mistake in coding the Excel spreadsheet skewed the results. Mike Konczal at Business Insider says the spreadsheet mistake is one of three glaring problems in the study.

The whole debacle serves as a prudent reminder to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism about economic statistics.