Methods and Results
This section summarizes the results of the statistical tests to determine if the Maharishi Effect had a significant impact on the misery index for both the U.S. and Canada during this period. Further details of the statistical methodology and empirical results are described in Cavanaugh (in press), a revised and updated version of Cavanaugh (1987).
Time series impact assessment analysis (Box & Tiao, 1975; Tiao, Box, & Hamming, 1975) was used to estimate the effect on the misery index of a TM-Sidhi group equalling or exceeding the predicted critical threshold of the square root of 1% of the national population. Impact assessment analysis explicitly controls for the usual pattern of behavior of the misery index over time, as described by the "noise component" of the model. Controlling for the usual time series behavior of the misery index, the analysis seeks to determine whether this behavior was significantly altered during or following periods in which the critical Super Radiance threshold was exceeded. Thus the statistical analysis controls for any systematic patterns of behavior of the misery index--such as trend, seasonal variation, or other cyclical patterns--during periods in which the size of the Super Radiance group was less than the predicted critical threshold.
As described in Cavanaugh (in press), a systematic approach to time series analysis, the linear transfer function (LTF) method (Liu, 1985; Liu & Hudak, 1985; Liu & Hanssens, 1982), was used to fit an impact assessment model of the misery index for both countries. To provide an objective standard for model selection, the LTF method was augmented by use of an objective criterion for choosing between alternative models, the Akaike information criterion (AIC) (Akaike, 1973, 1974; Larimore, 1983). Impact assessment models have been previously applied to the analysis of U.S. inflation by Box and Tiao (1975).
In the case of the U.S., the time series analysis found evidence of statistically significant declines in the misery index 4 to 8 months after periods in which the daily average size of the Super Radiance group ranged between 1500 to 1699 in size for the month, where 1500 is approximately the square root of 1% of the U.S. population. Significant reductions in the U.S. misery index were also found with a shorter lag of 2 to 5 months, following months in which the average daily size TM-Sidhi group was 1700 or more.
The impact assessment analysis for Canada found declines in the misery index with a lag 6 to 8 months after the Super Radiance group ranged from 1500 to 1699 in size, and 5 to 8 months after the group equalled or exceeded 1700. Thus for both the U.S. and Canada increases in the average size of the Super Radiance group to a level above the square root of 1% threshold consistently led the subsequent declines in the misery index, with larger groups having a somewhat more immediate effect. In empirical studies of the dynamic relationship between economic variables believed to be causally related, lagged effects of this order, or higher, are commonly found (e.g., see Carlson, 1980).
These estimated reductions in the U.S. misery index are measured relative to the mean value of the index (15.91 points) during months in which the average group size was below the approximate critical threshold of 1500. Likewise, for Canada, the estimated declines in the misery index are measured relative to the mean level of the Canadian index (18.13) during those months in which the average size of the TM-Sidhi group was below 1500.
A test of the hypothesis that the Super Radiance group had no effect on the misery index during this period found that this hypothesis must be rejected for both the U.S.(p < .01) and Canada (p = .00004). -10- Thus the overall estimated effect of the Super Radiance group on the misery index for each country was highly statistically significant. These p values give the probability of obtaining these estimated effects of the Super Radiance group on the misery index merely by chance. -11- This probability is quite small for both countries, thus indicating a statistically significant impact of the Super Radiance group on the misery index for the U.S. and Canada.
As explained in Cavanaugh (in press), all diagnostic tests indicate that each model was satisfactory. In particular, the residuals for each model displayed behavior consistent with the hypothesis of a serially uncorrelated "white noise process," indicating that the model in each case satisfactorily modelled all the systematic behavior of the misery index, including any seasonal, or other, cycles and trends.
Of particular importance in assessing the magnitude of the impact of the MIU group on the misery index is the "long-run multiplier" for each Super Radiance variable. The long-run multiplier for a TM-Sidhi group of 1500-1699, for example, gives the estimated long-run change in the misery index resulting from a sustained increase in the size of the Super Radiance group to a level between 1500 and 1699. The long-run multiplier for the larger group-size category of 1700 or more is analogous. The estimated long-run multipliers for both countries are shown in Table 1.
Effect of Super Radiance Group on U.S. and Canadian Misery Index: Estimated Long-Run Multipliers
|Average Group Size||Long-Run Multiplier||% of Total Declinea||Long-Run Multiplier||% of Total Declineb|
As shown in Table 1, the estimated long-run decline in the U.S. misery index was 4.23 points for a Super Radiance group of 1500 to 1699, and 5.62 points for a group of 1700 or more. The negative sign of these multipliers confirms the prediction of a decline in the misery index through the Maharishi Effect. The estimated declines in the misery index shown in Table 1 are very large. As a proportion of the total decline of 14.1 points in the U.S. misery index from its peak in 1980 to the end of the sample period in 1988, the reduction of 4.23 points for the group of 1500-1699 represents 30.0 percent of the total decline in the index. For the larger group, the comparable proportionate decline is 39.9 percent.
All long-run multipliers were negative in the case of Canada as well. As shown in Table 1, the estimated long-run multiplier for a group of 1500 to 1699 was -4.14 points, and -4.55 points for a TM-Sidhi group averaging 1700 or more. These estimated reductions represent 26.7 percent and 29.3 percent, respectively, of the total decline of 15.5 points in the Canadian misery index from its peak of 27.1 in June 1981 to the end of the sample period in 1988.
For both the U.S. and Canada, the negative long-run multipliers for Super Radiance groups of 1500 or more in size are consistent with the hypothesis that economic performance of the U.S. and Canada was significantly improved through the collective practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program by a group equalling or exceeding the square root of one percent of the U.S. population. For both countries, the estimated long-run multipliers were larger in absolute value for the larger group of 1700 or more, and the larger group had a more immediate effect.
It is also noteworthy that the estimated multipliers for the U.S. are larger in absolute value than the corresponding multipliers for Canada, especially in percentage terms. Proportionately larger long-run reductions in the misery index for the U.S. may reflect the fact that the theoretical square root of 1% threshold for the U.S. was exceeded more frequently during the sample period, and at an earlier date, than the larger theoretical threshold for all of North America.
The results described above are consistent with those of an earlier analysis of the misery index for the U.S. and Canada using a somewhat shorter sample period, November 1980 to January 1987 (Cavanaugh, 1987). Using the same statistical methodology, comparable reductions in the misery index for both the U.S. and Canada were found, and the estimated effect of the Super Radiance group on the misery index again was highly significant for both the U.S. (p = 5.5 x 10-6) and Canada (p = 5.7 x 10-10). By examining the influence of three different Super Radiance threshold levels defined by quartiles of the size of the TM-Sidhi group, the latter analysis also found evidence for both countries of a sharp decrease in the misery index attributed to the effect of the Super Radiance group beginning at an average group size of approximately 1500. This latter finding, like those reported above, is strikingly consistent with the hypothesis of a sudden improvement in economic performance when the Super Radiance group equals or exceeds the square root of 1% of the national population.
The statistical tests reported above lend strong support to the hypothesis that the group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program significantly contributed to a substantial improvement in national economic performance for both the U.S. and Canada during the period 1979 to 1988. Using recently developed tools of time series analysis, impact assessment analysis of monthly data for this period found evidence of statistically significant reductions in Okun's misery index for both the U.S. and Canada attributable to the influence of the largest TM-Sidhi group in North America. These reductions were found to occur, on average, 2 to 8 months after periods in which the average size of the Super Radiance group exceeded the predicted critical threshold of approximately the square root of 1% of the U.S. population. For both countries, the estimated reductions are highly statistically significant: the null hypothesis of no effect of the Super Radiance group on the U.S. and Canadian misery index must be rejected at conventional significance levels. These findings, therefore, lend strong support to the hypothesis of a significant reduction in the misery index through the Maharishi Effect.
Further support for the hypothesis of a causal relationship between the misery index and the collective practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program is given by the finding that the proportionate reduction in the Canadian misery index, while very large, was smaller than the corresponding reduction in the U.S. index. As noted above, this result is consistent with Maharishi's theory of collective consciousness, which suggests that the predicted Super Radiance threshold for influencing both Canada and the U.S. is larger than the critical threshold for the U.S. alone. The same reasoning can also explain why the rising trend of the Canadian index was reversed at a later date than for the U.S. index.
The case for a causal interpretation of these findings is strengthened by the findings of Cavanaugh, King, and Ertuna (1989) who found an even larger and more significant effect of the Super Radiance group on the U.S. misery index after statistically controlling for the impact of key economic influences on the index over the same sample period. There is wide agreement among economists that the behavior of inflation and unemployment over the period of this study was critically influenced by fluctuations in energy, food, and other crude materials prices (e.g. see Bruno & Sachs, 1985; Gisser & Goodwin, 1986; Helliwell, 1988; Beckerman & Jenkinson, 1986). Monetary growth has also been accorded a highly important role in influencing macroeconomic performance, especially inflation, over this period (e. g., see Bruno & Sachs, 1985; Friedman, 1988; Poole, 1988). Also it is well known that both inflation and unemployment are highly correlated with business-cycle fluctuations, and this period was characterized by major business-cycle movements--e. g., two U.S. recessions in close succession (January to June 1980, July 1981 to November 1982) followed by the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history (92 months, as of June 1990, versus a postwar average of 34 months).
Using sophisticated time series methods (multiple-input transfer function analysis), Cavanaugh, King, and Ertuna (1989) statistically controlled for the effect on the misery index of these three major economic factors--crude materials prices, monetary growth, and business-cycle fluctuations. Their statistical analysis of the effect of the Super Radiance group on the misery index controlled for the influence of these factors on the misery index by explicitly incorporating measures of monetary growth, the rate of change of an index of crude materials prices, and a measure which closely reflects business-cycle fluctuations, the rate of growth of industrial production.
While the economic factors included in the study of Cavanaugh, King, and Ertuna did significantly contribute to the explanation of movements in the U.S. misery index, the estimated effect of the Super Radiance group continued to be highly statistically significant (p = 3.2 x 10-9). Also, the estimated reductions in the misery index attributed to the Super Radiance group continued to be very large. For a Super Radiance group averaging 1500 to 1699, the long-run multiplier was -7.61 points. This decline represents 54.0 percent of the total decline of 14.1 points in the misery index from its peak to the end of the sample period in 1988. For a Super Radiance group averaging 1700 or more, the multiplier was -7.65 points, equivalent to 54.2 percent of the total decline of the index from January 1980 to April 1988. More recent research by Cavanaugh and King (1990) found somewhat larger and highly significant effects of the Super Radiance group on the U.S. misery index after controlling additionally for movements in an index of U.S. exchange rates. That the Super Radiance multipliers reported in Cavanaugh, King, and Ertuna and in Cavanaugh and King are both larger than those found for the U.S. in the current study indicates that the results reported in Table 1 are conservative estimates of the effect of the Super Radiance group on the U.S. misery index. Thus the multiplier estimates based on the impact assessment methods used in this study were not upwardly biased (in absolute value) by the exclusion of these economic explanatory variables.
Further evidence supporting a causal interpretation of these findings is provided by Cavanaugh and King (1988) who found that the Super Radiance group significantly contributed to large reductions in the rate of change of crude materials prices over the period 1979 to 1988 (p = 2.6 x 10-5). In the long run, a Super Radiance group of 1500 to 1699 was estimated to reduce the percent rate of growth of crude materials prices by 8.79 percentage points, with an estimated reduction of 13.68 points for a group of 1700 or more. This result suggests that the Maharishi Effect may have helped to dampen the negative "supply-side shocks" that are widely believed to have been the leading cause of the worldwide high inflation and unemployment in the 1970s and early 1980s (Bruno & Sachs, 1985; Helliwell, 1988). Such reductions in the very rapid rate of growth of food and energy prices, which significantly contributed to the decline in both inflation and unemployment in the U.S. and Canada, together with the remarkably sustained economic growth in North America since 1983 following the rise of the MIU Super Radiance group to a level consistently exceeding the square root of 1% of the U.S. population, are fully consistent with Maharishi's prediction of economic improvement due to greater support from natural law through the Maharishi Effect.
Additional support for the hypothesis of a causal effect of the TM-Sidhi group on the misery index is provided by Cavanaugh, King, and Titus (1989), who found evidence of a significant unidirectional influence of the Super Radiance group on the misery index, with no significant influence of the misery index on the size of the group. Their findings demonstrate that fluctuations in the size of the Super Radiance group temporally led the misery index, while the reverse is not true. Also supporting a causal interpretation is the fact that more than 35 other studies of the Maharishi Effect using other measures of the quality of life have similarly rejected the null hypothesis of no effect of the Super Radiance group.
Particularly powerful support for a causal relationship between the Super Radiance group and the misery index is provided by prospective, quasi-experimental studies of the Maharishi Effect. In such prospective studies (e.g., Orme-Johnson et al., 1988; Davies & Alexander, 1989), precise predictions of the effect of a planned gathering of experts in TM and TM-Sidhi program were publicly lodged with independent bodies and the press prior to assembling the Super Radiance group. The latter two studies, based on daily data, also featured many separate experimental periods which were randomly distributed through time, further strengthening the evidence for a causal effect.
Finally, a causal interpretation of these findings is supported by the fact that the time series methodology used in all of the studies of the misery index described above, Liu's linear transfer function method, has been found through simulation studies to be very effective in detecting the lack of relationship between variables which are, in fact, unrelated (Liu, 1985). This property of the LTF method, by contrast with several other influential time series methods, minimizes the chance of spurious findings.
Taken together, the findings of these studies of the influence of the group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program on Okun's misery index of inflation and unemployment, therefore, provide strong support for the conclusion that Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology offers economic policy makers an effective new instrument of economic policy. The empirical results discussed in this paper suggest that by promoting coherence in national consciousness and bringing collective consciousness in alliance with the full potential of natural law, nature's government, the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi program by a single group comprising the square root of1% of the national population provides the foundation for the success of government efforts to improve national economic performance. The weight of existing evidence clearly supports the conclusion that any government seeking to improve the national economy and simultaneously lower inflation and unemployment would be prudent to make support for the group practice of this technology of consciousness an integral part of its national economic policy.