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Journal Articles American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Year : 2016

Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back


Using 50,000 tests published in the AER, JPE, and QJE, we identify a residual in the distribution of tests that cannot be explained solely by journals favoring rejection of the null hypothesis. We observe a two-humped camel shape with missing p-values between 0.25 and 0.10 that can be retrieved just after the 0.05 threshold and represent 10-20 percent of marginally rejected tests. Our interpretation is that researchers inflate the value of just-rejected tests by choosing "significant" specifications. We propose a method to measure this residual and describe how it varies by article and author characteristics.

Dates and versions

hal-01447851 , version 1 (27-01-2017)



Abel Brodeur, Mathias Lé, Marc Sangnier, Yanos Zylberberg. Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2016, 8 (1), pp.1-32. ⟨10.1257/app.20150044⟩. ⟨hal-01447851⟩
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