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Is the Time-Series Evidence on Minimum Wage Effects Contaminated by Publication Bias?

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  • David Neumark
  • William Wascher

Abstract

Publication bias in economics may lead to selective specification searches that result in overreporting in the published literature of results consistent with economists' priors. In reassessing the published time-series studies on the employment effects of minimum wages, some recent research has reported evidence consistent with publication bias, and concluded that the most plausible explanation of this evidence is editors' and authors' tendencies to look for negative and statistically significant estimates of the employment effect of the minimum wage, (Card and Krueger, 1995a, p. 242). We present results indicating that the evidence is more consistent with a change in the estimated minimum wage effect over time than with publication bias. More generally, we demonstrate that existing approaches to testing for publication bias may generate spurious evidence of such bias when there are structural changes in some parameters. We then suggest an alternative strategy for testing for publication bias that is more immune to structural change. Although changing parameters may be uncommon in clinical trials on which most of the existing literature on publication bias is based, they are much more plausible in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & William Wascher, 1996. "Is the Time-Series Evidence on Minimum Wage Effects Contaminated by Publication Bias?," NBER Working Papers 5631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5631 Note: LS
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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. Gary Solon, 1985. "The Minimum Wage and Teenage Employment: A Reanalysis with Attention to Serial Correlation and Seasonality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(2), pages 292-297.
    3. Eugene Canjels & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "Estimating Deterministic Trends In The Presence Of Serially Correlated Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 184-200, May.
    4. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1982. "Minimum Wages and the Demand for Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(3), pages 365-380, July.
    5. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Welch, Finis, 1974. "Minimum Wage Legislation in the United States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(3), pages 285-318, September.
    8. Siskind, Frederic B, 1977. "Minimum Wage Legislation in the United States: Comment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(1), pages 135-138, January.
    9. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1983. "Time-Series Evidence of the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 3-31.
    10. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1994. "Minimum Wage Effects and Low-Wage Labor Markets: A Disequilibrium Approach," NBER Working Papers 4617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bernhard Boockmann, 2010. "The Combined Employment Effects of Minimum Wages and Labor Market Regulation—a Meta-Analysis," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 61(Supplemen), pages 167-188.
    3. Garret S. Christensen & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research," NBER Working Papers 22989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2005. "The Last Word on the Wage Curve?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 421-450, July.
    5. Jarle Møen & Helge Sandvig Thorsen, 2017. "Publication Bias in the Returns to R&D Literature," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), pages 987-1013.
    6. Simonetta Longhi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2005. "A Meta-Analytic Assessment of the Effect of Immigration on Wages," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 451-477, July.
    7. Larry D. Singell & James R. Terborg, 2007. "Employment Effects Of Two Northwest Minimum Wage Initiatives," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(1), pages 40-55, January.
    8. Jellal, Mohamed, 2012. "Maroc salaire minimum emploi et pauvreté
      [Morocco minimum wage employment and poverty]
      ," MPRA Paper 38491, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Henri L.F. de Groot & Ruud A. de Mooij, 2002. "Meta-analysis: A Tool for Upgrading Inputs of Macroeconomic Policy Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-041/3, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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