Methods Matter: P-Hacking and Causal Inference in Economics
Nikolai Cook and
Anthony Heyes ()
Additional contact information
Anthony Heyes: Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, and University of Sussex
No 1809E, Working Papers from University of Ottawa, Department of Economics
The economics 'credibility revolution' has promoted the identification of causal relationships using difference-in-differences (DID), instrumental variables (IV), randomized control trials (RCT) and regression discontinuity design (RDD) methods. The extent to which a reader should trust claims about the statistical significance of results proves very sensitive to method. Applying multiple methods to 13,440 hypothesis tests reported in 25 top economics journals in 2015, we show that selective publication and p-hacking is a substantial problem in research employing DID and (in particular) IV. RCT and RDD are much less problematic. Almost 25% of claims of marginally significant results in IV papers are misleading.
Keywords: Research methods; causal inference; p-curves; p-hacking; publication bias. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A11 B41 C13 C44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ecm, nep-hme, nep-hpe and nep-sog
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://socialsciences.uottawa.ca/economics/sites/ ... mics/files/1809e.pdf (application/pdf)
Working Paper: Methods Matter: P-Hacking and Causal Inference in Economics (2018)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ott:wpaper:1809e
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Working Papers from University of Ottawa, Department of Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Diane Ritchot ().