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Neither Fixed nor Random: Weighted Least Squares Meta-Analysis

  • T.D. Stanley

    ()

  • Hristos Doucouliagos

    ()

This study challenges two core conventional meta-analysis methods: fixed effect and random effects. We show how and explain why an unrestricted weighted least squares estimator is superior to conventional random-effects meta-analysis when there is publication (or small-sample) bias and better than a fixed-effect weighted average if there is heterogeneity. Statistical theory and simulations of effect sizes, log odds ratios and regression coefficients demonstrate that this unrestricted weighted least squares estimator provides satisfactory estimates and confidence intervals that are comparable to random effects when there is no publication (or small-sample) bias and identical to fixed-effect meta-analysis when there is no heterogeneity. When there is publication selection bias, the unrestricted weighted least squares approach dominates random effects; when there is excess heterogeneity, it is clearly superior to fixed-effect meta-analysis. In practical applications, an unrestricted weighted least squares weighted average will often provide superior estimates to both conventional fixed and random effects.

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File URL: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/workingpapers/papers/2013_1.pdf
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Paper provided by Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in its series Economics Series with number 2013_1.

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Date of creation: 23 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2013_1
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Web page: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/index.php

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  1. Stanley, T D & Jarrell, Stephen B, 1989. " Meta-Regression Analysis: A Quantitative Method of Literature Survey s," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 161-70.
  2. T.D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2009. "Could It Be Better to Discard 90% of the Data? A Statistical Paradox," Economics Series 2009_13, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  3. Hristos Doucouliagos & T.D. Stanley & Margaret Giles, 2011. "Are Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Exaggerated?," Economics Series 2011_2, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  4. Hristos Doucouliagos & T.D. Stanley, 2008. "Theory Competition and Selectivity: Are All Economic Facts Greatly Exaggerated?," Economics Series 2008_06, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  5. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  6. T.D Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2007. "Identifying and Correcting Publication Selection Bias in the Efficiency-Wage Literature: Heckman Meta-Regression," Economics Series 2007_11, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  7. T.D. Stanley, 2006. "Meta-Regression Methods for Detecting and Estimating Empirical Effects in the Presence of Publication Selection," Economics Series 2006_20, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
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