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Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back

  • Brodeur, Abel

    ()

    (University of Ottawa)

  • Lé, Mathias

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Sangnier, Marc

    ()

    (University of Aix-Marseille II)

  • Zylberberg, Yanos

    ()

    (University of 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 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 almost-rejected tests by choosing a "significant" specification. We propose a method to measure inflation and decompose it along articles' and authors' characteristics.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7268.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7268.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7268
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  1. Edward E. Leamer, 1982. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," UCLA Economics Working Papers 239, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Denton, Frank T, 1985. "Data Mining as an Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 124-27, February.
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  9. Katrin Auspurg & Thomas Hinz, 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), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 231(5-6), pages 636-660, November.
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