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Do Pre-registration and Pre-analysis Plans Reduce P-Hacking and Publication Bias?

Abel Brodeur, Nikolai Cook, Jonathan S. Hartley and Anthony Heyes ()
Additional contact information
Jonathan S. Hartley: Stanford University
Anthony Heyes: University of Ottawa

No 15476, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are increasingly prominent in economics, with pre-registration and pre-analysis plans (PAPs) promoted as important in ensuring the credibility of findings. We investigate whether these tools reduce the extent of p-hacking and publication bias by collecting and studying the universe of test statistics, 15,992 in total, from RCTs published in 15 leading economics journals from 2018 through 2021. In our primary analysis, we find no meaningful difference in the distribution of test statistics from pre-registered studies, compared to their non-pre-registered counterparts. However, pre-registerd studies that have a complete PAP are significantly less p-hacked. This results point to the importance of PAPs, rather than pre-registration in itself, in ensuring credibility.

Keywords: pre-analysis plan; pre-registration; p-hacking; publication bias; research credibility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B41 C13 C40 C93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 44 pages
Date: 2022-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-sog
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6)

Forthcoming - forthcoming as 'Do Pre-Registration and Pre-Analysis Plans Reduce p-Hacking and Publication Bias? Evidence from 15,992 Test Statistics and Suggestions for Improvement' in: Journal of Political Economy Microeconomics, 2024

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Related works:
Working Paper: Do Pre-Registration and Pre-analysis Plans Reduce p-Hacking and Publication Bias? (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Do Pre-Registration and Pre-analysis Plans Reduce p-Hacking and Publication Bias? (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Do Pre-Registration and Pre-analysis Plans Reduce p-Hacking and Publication Bias? (2022) Downloads
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