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

  • Bernd Weiss

    ()

    (Uni Koeln)

  • Michael Wagner

    ()

    (Uni Koeln)

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    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.

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    Article provided by Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 231 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5-6 (November)
    Pages: 661-684

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    Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:5-6:p:661-684
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    1. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2000. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," NBER Working Papers 7457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. T. D. Stanley, 2008. "Meta-Regression Methods for Detecting and Estimating Empirical Effects in the Presence of Publication Selection," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(1), pages 103-127, 02.
    3. T. D. Stanley, 2005. "Beyond Publication Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 309-345, 07.
    4. 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.
    5. De Long, J Bradford & Lang, Kevin, 1992. "Are All Economic Hypotheses False?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1257-72, December.
    6. 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, 07.
    7. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-43, May.
    8. Gerber, Alan & Malhotra, Neil, 2008. "Do Statistical Reporting Standards Affect What Is Published? Publication Bias in Two Leading Political Science Journals," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(3), pages 313-326, October.
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