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Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review

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  • T. D. Stanley

Abstract

This paper presents and develops a quantitative method of literature reviewing and evaluating empirical research, meta-regression analysis or MRA. Economics is theory-driven. Yet, we must learn empirically if economics is to advance. MRA offers a more objective statistical method to summarize our empirical knowledge and to explain the wide study-to-study variation in economic research. MRA is used to assess the evidence for Ricardian equivalence, and its findings are contrasted to those of conventional narrative review. Furthermore, MRA establishes a platform from which to distinguish genuine empirical effect from the exploitable specification error that infests applied econometrics.

Suggested Citation

  • T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:3:p:131-150
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.3.131
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.15.3.131
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    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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