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Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back

Listed author(s):
  • Abel Brodeur

    (University of Ottawa - University of Ottawa)

  • Mathias Lé

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marc Sangnier

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Yanos Zylberberg

    (School of Economics Finance and Management - University of Bristol [Bristol])

Journals favor rejection of the null hypothesis. This selection upon tests may distort the behavior of researchers. Using 50,000 tests published between 2005 and 2011 in the AER, JPE, and QJE, we identify a residual in the distribution of tests that cannot be explained by selection. The distribution of p-values exhibits a two humped camel shape with abundant p-values above 0.25, a valley between 0.25 and 0.10, and a bump slightly below 0.05. The missing tests (with p-values between 0.25 and 0.10) can be retrieved just after the 0.05 threshold and represent 10% to 20% of marginally rejected tests. Our interpretation is that researchers might be tempted to inflate the value of those just-rejected tests by choosing a “significant” specification. We propose a method to measure this residual and describe how it varies by article and author characteristics.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-01158500.

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Date of creation: May 2015
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-01158500
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01158500
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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