Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Second-Longest Word in the Econometrics Dictionary

The other day I paid a surprise visit to my University's library - it was an honest-to-goodness physical visit that involved putting one foot in front of the other, and straining those remaining neurons that deal with my long-term memory - not one of the virtual on-line visits that now pass for the real thing. Back in the day, when all the world and most of you were young and beautiful, an occasional visit to the library was actually quite therapeutic - a nice break from all of those interruptions in the office. It was great to be back, even though I had to focus hard to avoid tripping over old rabbit burrows while en route, and I was somewhat confused by the fact that my favourite large red book had apparently been moved from the very end of the 3rd shelf in the 4th row from the left on Level 2, sometime since September of 2002.

So, what drove me out into the bitter wasteland of Gordon Head in the dead of March? Well, I wanted to take a look at a dictionary that (shame on me) I thought I didn't own. Did you know that there really is A Dictionary of  Econometrics (Darnell, 1994)? It's a very nice volume, and - for the record - the longest word in this dictionary is "heteroskedasticity", with 18 letters. Yes, this word should indeed be spelled with a "k", and not another "c" (see McCulloch, 1985). The second-longest word in that dictionary, with 17 letters is - you guessed it - "multicollinearity". Quite a mouthful, I know, but if you've read this far then I assume that I don't need to bore you by explaining what this blockbuster of a word means.