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Testing for Publication Bias in Political Science

  • Alan S. Gerber (a1), Donald P. Green (a1) and David Nickerson (a1)


If the publication decisions of journals are a function of the statistical significance of research findings, the published literature may suffer from “publication bias.” This paper describes a method for detecting publication bias. We point out that to achieve statistical significance, the effect size must be larger in small samples. If publications tend to be biased against statistically insignificant results, we should observe that the effect size diminishes as sample sizes increase. This proposition is tested and confirmed using the experimental literature on voter mobilization.



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