# What is the problem with empirical priors?

In literature I sometimes stumple upon the remark, that choosing priors that depend on the data itself (for example Zellners g-prior) can be criticized from a theoretical point of view. Where exactly is the problem if the prior is not chosen independent from the data?

The $p$-values are wrong. Take a simple example. Test whether a population mean $\mu$ is equal to a particular value $\mu_0$ or not. Suppose the sample mean $\bar x$ is greater than $\mu_0$. Then it would be simply wrong to let the data guide you into testing only a one-sided alternative. Your $p$-value will be half of what it should be.
And just to be clear: The restriction $\mu \ge \mu_0$ implied by the one-sided alternative is a kind of empirical prior. (It throws away half of the possible values for $\mu$ a priori.)