p-Hacking: A Strategic Analysis

19 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019

Date Written: August 6, 2019


The phenomenon of p-hacking occurs when researchers engage in questionable practices that enable them to report findings as being statistically significant. I offer four models of p-hacking behavior – unconditional, strategic, greedy, and restrained – and explore the implications of each model. I discuss the implications of recent reforms (routine replication, pre- registration, and blinded data analysis) with respect to these models.

Keywords: replicability, research integrity, statistical inference, motivated reasoning

JEL Classification: C12

Suggested Citation

MacCoun, Robert, p-Hacking: A Strategic Analysis (August 6, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3433221 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3433221

Robert MacCoun (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-721-7031 (Phone)

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