Incentives for Replication in Economics

16 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2017

See all articles by Sebastian Galiani

Sebastian Galiani

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mauricio Romero

ITAM, Centro de Investigación Económica

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

Replication is a critical component of scientific credibility as it increases our confidence in the reliability of the knowledge generated by original research. Yet, replication is the exception rather than the rule in economics. In this paper, we examine why replication is so rare and propose changes to the incentives to replicate. Our study focuses on software code replication, which seeks to replicate the results in the original paper using the same data as the original study and verifying that the analysis code is correct. We analyse the effectiveness of the current model for code replication in the context of three desirable characteristics: unbiasedness, fairness and efficiency. We find substantial evidence of “overturn bias” that likely leads to many false positives in terms of “finding” or claiming mistakes in the original analysis. Overturn bias comes from the fact that replications that overturn original results are much easier to publish than those that confirm original results. In a survey of editors, almost all responded they would in principle publish a replication study that overturned the results of the original study, but only 29% responded that they would consider publishing a replication study that confirmed the original study results. We also find that most replication effort is devoted to so called important papers and that the cost of replication is high in that posited data and software are very hard to use. We outline a new model for the journals to take over replication post acceptance and prepublication that would solve the incentive problems raised in this paper.

Suggested Citation

Galiani, Sebastian and Gertler, Paul J. and Romero, Mauricio, Incentives for Replication in Economics (July 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23576. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3003674

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1418 (Phone)
510-642-4700 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mauricio Romero

ITAM, Centro de Investigación Económica ( email )

Camino a Santa Teresa No. 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Ciudad de México
Mexico

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
14
Abstract Views
252
PlumX Metrics