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Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back

Author

Listed:
  • Abel Brodeur

    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

  • Mathias Lé

    (Paris School of Economics and ACPR)

  • Marc Sangnier

    (Aix-Marseille Univ. (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS)

  • Yanos Zylberberg

    (School of Economics Finance and Management, University of Bristol)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Brodeur & Mathias Lé & Marc Sangnier & Yanos Zylberberg, 2015. "Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back," Working Papers 1505E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1505e
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hypothesis testing; distorting incentives; selection bias; research in economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory

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