In 2013, IZA Research Affiliate Abel Brodeur (University of Ottawa) and his co-authors published an IZA discussion paper titled “Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back” (see also our IZA Newsroom article). Analyzing 50,000 statistical tests published in top economics journals, the authors concluded that researchers might be tempted to inflate the value of almost-rejected tests by choosing a “significant” specification. The reason is that journals favor rejection of the null hypothesis, which means that positive findings increase the chances of publication.
The IZA paper was published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics in January 2016 and received coverage in various media outlets, including The Economist. Abel Brodeur has now been awarded one of ten 2016 Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), a network of researchers and institutions committed to strengthening scientific integrity in economics and related disciplines by identifying and disseminating useful tools and strategies for improving transparency, including the use of study registries, pre-analysis plans, data sharing, and replications.
Brodeur receives the prize, which includes $10,000, for his work on the above-mentioned paper and “for his clear dedication to and advocacy of open science and reproducibility,” according to BITSS. Promoting open science is also among IZA’s core objectives. We have repeatedly stressed the value of replications and launched initiatives such as the open-access IZA Journals and the IDSC data repository.