Specification Curve: Descriptive and Inferential Statistics on All Reasonable Specifications
34 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2015 Last revised: 3 Feb 2016
Date Written: November 24, 2015
Empirical results often hinge on data analytic decisions that are simultaneously defensible, arbitrary, and motivated. To mitigate this problem we introduce Specification-Curve Analysis, which consists of three steps: (i) identifying the set of theoretically justified, statistically valid, and non-redundant analytic specifications, (ii) displaying alternative results graphically, allowing the identification of decisions producing different results, and (iii) conducting statistical tests to determine whether as a whole results are inconsistent with the null hypothesis. We illustrate its use by applying it to three published findings. One proves robust, one weak, one not robust at all.
Keywords: Specification Curve; p-hacking
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