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Do Statistical Reporting Standards Affect What Is Published? Publication Bias in Two Leading Political Science Journals

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  • Gerber, Alan
  • Malhotra, Neil

Abstract

We examine the APSR and the AJPS for the presence of publication bias due to reliance on the 0.05 significance level. Our analysis employs a broad interpretation of publication bias, which we define as the outcome that occurs when, for whatever reason, publication practices lead to bias in the published parameter estimates. We examine the effect of the 0.05 significance level on the pattern of published findings using a "caliper" test, a novel method for comparing studies with heterogeneous effects, and find that we can reject the hypothesis of no publication bias at the 1 in 32 billion level. Our findings therefore raise the possibility that the results reported in the leading political science journals may be misleading due to publication bias. We also discuss some of the reasons for publication bias and propose reforms to reduce its impact on research.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00008024
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00008024
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    Cited by:

    1. Humphreys Macartan, 2015. "Reflections on the Ethics of Social Experimentation," WIDER Working Paper Series 018, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. 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.
    3. Michael L. Anderson & Jeremy Magruder, 2017. "Split-Sample Strategies for Avoiding False Discoveries," NBER Working Papers 23544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:cup:polals:v:25:y:2017:i:04:p:465-482_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Beger, Andreas & Dorff, Cassy L. & Ward, Michael D., 2016. "Irregular leadership changes in 2014: Forecasts using ensemble, split-population duration models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 98-111.
    6. Brendan Nyhan, 2011. "The limited effects of testimony on political persuasion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 283-312, September.
    7. Muhammad Haseeb & Kate Vyborny, 2016. "Imposing institutions: Evidence from cash transfer reform in Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-36, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Fafchamps, Marcel & Labonne, Julien, 2017. "Using Split Samples to Improve Inference on Causal Effects," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 465-482, October.
    9. Marcel Fafchamps & Julien Labonne, 2016. "Using Split Samples to Improve Inference about Causal Effects," NBER Working Papers 21842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Stephan B. Bruns, 2016. "The Fragility of Meta-Regression Models in Observational Research," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201603, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    11. Auspurg Katrin & Hinz Thomas, 2011. "What Fuels Publication Bias?: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses of Risk Factors Using the Caliper Test," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(5-6), pages 636-660, October.
    12. 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.
    13. repec:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:238-256 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Fowler, Anthony & Hall, Andrew B., 2015. "Congressional seniority and pork: A pig fat myth?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 42-56.

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