Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back

Abel Brodeur, Mathias Lé, Marc Sangnier, Yanos Zylberberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)
1609 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Data


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