There is growing interest in research transparency and reproducibility in economics and other scientific fields. We survey existing work on these topics within economics and discuss the evidence suggesting that publication bias, inability to replicate, and specification searching remain widespread problems in the discipline. We next discuss recent progress in this area, including improved research design, study registration and pre-analysis plans, disclosure standards, and open sharing of data and materials, and draw on experiences in both economics and other social sciences. We discuss areas where consensus is emerging on new practices as well as approaches that remain controversial and speculate about the most effective ways to make economics research more accurate, credible, and reproducible in the future.
BIDS Senior Fellow Edward Miguel is the Oxfam Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, the Faculty Director of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), and the Faculty Co-Director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 2000. His research focuses on African economic development, including work on the economic causes and consequences of violence; the impact of ethnic divisions on local collective action; interactions between health, education, environment, and productivity for the poor; and methods for transparency in social science research. He has conducted field work in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and India. Miguel earned S.B. degrees in both Economics and Mathematics from MIT, and received a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow.