Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/71700
Authors: 
Brodeur, Abel
Lé, Mathias
Sangnier, Marc
Zylberberg, Yanos
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion Paper Series, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit 7268
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 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.
Subjects: 
hypothesis testing
distorting incentives
selection bias
research in economics
JEL: 
A11
B41
C13
C44
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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