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The Identification and Prevention of Publication Bias in the Social Sciences and Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Weiß Bernd
  • Wagner Michael

    (University of Cologne, Greinstr. 2, 50939 Cologne, Germany)

Abstract

Systematic research reviews have become essential in all empirical sciences. However, the validity of research syntheses is threatened by the fact that not all studies on a given topic can be summarized. Research reviews may suffer from missing data, and this is especially crucial in those cases where the selectivity of studies and their findings affects the summarized result. So-called publication bias is a type of missing data and a phenomenon that jeopardizes the validity of systematic or quantitative, as well as narrative, reviews. Publication bias exists if the preparation, submission or publication of research findings depend on characteristics of just these research results, e. g. their direction or statistical significance. This article describes methods to identify publication bias in the context of meta-analysis. It also reviews empirical studies on the prevalence of publication bias, especially in the social and economic sciences, where publication bias also seems to be prevalent. Several proposals to prevent publication bias are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Weiß Bernd & Wagner Michael, 2011. "The Identification and Prevention of Publication Bias in the Social Sciences and Economics," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(5-6), pages 661-684, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:5-6:p:661-684
    DOI: 10.1515/jbnst-2011-5-608
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerber, Alan S. & Green, Donald P. & Nickerson, David, 2001. "Testing for Publication Bias in Political Science," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 385-392, January.
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    7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
    8. Anna Matysiak & Daniele Vignoli, 2006. "Fertility and women’s employment: a meta-analysis," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-048, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    10. T. D. Stanley, 2005. "Beyond Publication Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 309-345, July.
    11. Chris Doucouliagos, 2005. "Publication Bias in the Economic Freedom and Economic Growth Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 367-387, July.
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    1. Economics is better (in some ways) than it used to be
      by Frances Woolley in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on 2013-07-02 03:11:45

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