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Publication Bias and Editorial Statement on Negative Findings EconomicsSSMART

Cristina Blanco-Perez Abel Brodeur

The introduction of confidence at 95 percent or 90 percent has led the academic community to accept more easily starry stories with marginally significant coefficients than starless ones with insignificant coefficients. In February 2015, the editors of eight health economics journals sent out an editorial statement encouraging referees to accept studies that: “have potential scientific and publication merit regardless of whether such studies’ empirical findings do or do not reject null hypotheses that may be specified.”Using a differences-in-differences approach, Blanco-Perez and Brodeur find that the editorial statement decreased the proportion of tests rejecting the null hypothesis by 18 percentage points. This finding suggests that incentives may be aligned to promote more transparent research.

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