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Teaching Replication in Quantitative Empirical Economics


  • Jan H. Höffler



In empirical economics, a twofold lack of incentives leads to chronic problems with replicability: For authors of empirical studies providing replicable material is not awarded in the same way as publishing new irreplicable studies is. Neither is authoring replication studies. We offer a strategy to set incentives for replicability and replication. By integrating replication studies in the education of young scholars, we raise the awareness for the importance of replicability among the next generation of researchers and ensure that a big number of scientists get incentives to write replication studies: credit points and the prospect of publications at least of working papers already during their time as students. By raising the number of researchers involved in replication and by providing an infrastructure for sharing their information, on the one hand we help to lower the amount of work researchers need to put into making their studies replicable. On the other hand, we facilitate the dissemination of insights derived from replication studies. This as a side effect imposes a significant threat of detection of irreplicable research, following the cases of recently introduced wiki projects for the revelation of plagiarism. In contrast to previous efforts like the report on the American Economic Review Data Availability Compliance Project, with our project we build the basis for the first replicable review paper on reblicability as we give account of which studies were tested and which results were found in each case. After exploring several dozen studies published in highly ranked journals, we have not yet determined a single case where we see replicability is fully ensured. We identified two main problems: First, not all published results can be obtained from the replication material provided. Second, information about how the used data were obtained from the raw data is hardly ever sufficient. For our investigation, we gave seminars at several faculties. We set up a wiki project for documenting the results of our replications as well as those found in the literature. In our database, we provide information about more than 1800 empirical studies, especially with regards to the availability of material for their replication. We invite for discussion to develop standards for how to make research replicable and how to write replication studies. For this we provide information about existing projects that facilitate the sharing of material for empirical econometric research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan H. Höffler, 2014. "Teaching Replication in Quantitative Empirical Economics," Replication Working Papers 2/2014, Institut für Statistik und Ökonometrie, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Replication project.
  • Handle: RePEc:stg:wpaper:2014_02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Whaples, 2006. "The Costs of Critical Commentary in Economics Journals," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(2), pages 275-282, May.
    2. Paul Wohlfarth, 2012. "Replication in the narrow sense of Banzhaf/Walsh (2008)," Replication Working Papers 2/2012, Institut für Statistik und Ökonometrie, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Replication project.
    3. Denis Huschka & Gert G. Wagner, 2012. "Data accessibility is not sufficient for making replication studies a matter of course," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 195, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    4. B. D. McCullough & H. D. Vinod, 2003. "Verifying the Solution from a Nonlinear Solver: A Case Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 873-892, June.
    5. McCullough, B. D. & McGeary, Kerry Anne & Harrison, Teresa D., 2006. "Lessons from the JMCB Archive," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 1093-1107, June.
    6. Björn Zakula, 2012. "Narrow Replication of Ashcraft (2005): Are Banks Really Special?," Replication Working Papers 1/2012, Institut für Statistik und Ökonometrie, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Replication project.
    7. Christoph Weißer, 2014. "Replication in the narrow sense of "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves" (Obstfeld, Shambaugh & Taylor 2010)," Replication Working Papers 1/2014, Institut für Statistik und Ökonometrie, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Replication project.
    8. Philip R. P. Coelho & James E. McClure, 2006. "Why Has Critical Commentary Been Curtailed at Top Economics Journals? A Reply to Robert Whaples," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(2), pages 283-291, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:52-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maren Duvendack & Richard W. Palmer-Jones & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "Replications in Economics: A Progress Report," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 12(2), pages 164–191-1, May.
    3. Zimmermann, Christian, 2015. "On the Need for a Replication Journal," Working Papers 2015-16, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item


    Replication; Economic education; Documentation; Data archiving; Statistical software;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines


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