The Null Result Penalty

18 August 2023 14:53

The Null Result Penalty

The paper titled "The Null Result Penalty" by Felix Chopra, Ingar Haaland, Christopher Roth and Andreas Stegmann has been published in the Economic Journal.


We examine how the evaluation of research studies in economics depends on whether a study yielded a null result. Studies with null results are perceived to be less publishable, of lower quality, less important, and less precisely estimated than studies with large and statistically significant results, even when holding constant all other study features, including the sample size and the precision of the estimates. The null result penalty is of similar magnitude among PhD students and journal editors. The penalty is larger when experts predict a large effect and when statistical uncertainty is communicated with p-values rather than standard errors. Our findings highlight the value of pre-results review.

Read the paper