Which Findings Should Be Published?
- American Economic Journal: Microeconomics (Forthcoming)
Given a scarcity of journal space, what is the optimal rule for whether an
empirical finding should be published? Suppose publications inform the public
about a policy-relevant state. Then journals should publish extreme results,
meaning ones that move beliefs sufficiently. This optimal rule may take the
form of a one- or a two-sided test comparing a point estimate to the prior
mean, with critical values determined by a cost-benefit analysis. Consideration
of future studies may additionally justify the publication of precise null results.
If one insists that standard inference remain valid, however, publication must
not select on the study’s findings.
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