Abel Brodeur 2016 Leamer-Rosenthal Prize RecipientBITSS CatalystEconomics

Emerging Researcher

Abel Brodeur is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at University of Ottawa. He received his Ph.D. in Economics at Paris School of Economics. Brodeur’s current research interests center around health economics, development economics and research transparency. His current projects include an evaluation of the economic consequences of prostitution in Southeast Asia, an examination of the effects of terrorism; and the development of ways to promote transparency in research.

Dr. Brodeur was awarded a Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science for his work on the ground-breaking paper “Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back” published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. The paper uncovered widespread specification searching, or p-hacking, in published economics research. Dr. Brodeur and his team’s data, which is publicly shared, have been used in subsequent studies on publication bias. He has also incorporated research transparency methods into his graduate level micro-econometrics course at the University of Ottawa.

2016 Annual Meeting Leamer-Rosenthal Prize Winner Interview

Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back
During his PhD, he started working on research transparency with other PhD students (M. Lé, M. Sangnier and Y. Zylberberg) at Paris School of Economics. The outcome of their joint work is the paper Star Wars: the Empirics Strike Back. In this paper, they provide evidence of publication bias and specification searching in three of the most prestigious journals in economics and attempt to shed light on the sub-literatures that suffer the most from these biases. They relate the misallocation of p-values to authors’ and papers’ characteristics and find that the presence of a misallocation correlates with incentives to get published: the misallocation is lower for older and tenured professors compared with younger researchers. The misallocation also correlates with the importance of the empirical result in the publication prospects. In theoretical papers, the empirical analysis is less crucial, and, indeed, the misallocation is much lower. Moreover, there is less publication bias and/or specification searching in articles using data from randomized control trials or laboratory experiments.