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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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-243, May.
    2. 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.
    3. De Long, J Bradford & Lang, Kevin, 1992. "Are All Economic Hypotheses False?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1257-1272, December.
    4. T. D. Stanley, 2005. "Beyond Publication Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 309-345, July.
    5. 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.
    6. Gerber, Alan S. & Green, Donald P. & Nickerson, David, 2001. "Testing for Publication Bias in Political Science," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 385-392, January.
    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.
    9. 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, February.
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    Blog mentions

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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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    Cited by:

    1. Abel Brodeur & Mathias Lé & Marc Sangnier & Yanos Zylberberg, 2016. "Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-32, January.
    2. Abel Brodeur & Mathias Lé & Marc Sangnier & Yanos Zylberberg, 2015. "Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back," Working Papers halshs-01158500, HAL.

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