Disentangling p-Hacking and Publication Bias
This study differentiates p-hacking from publication bias by examining biases resulting from selective reporting within studies versus selective publication of entire studies. Analyzing a dataset of 400 meta-studies, encompassing nearly 200,000 estimates from approximately 19,000 individual studies in economics and related social sciences, I observe a notably higher incidence of p-hacking as compared to selective publication. Employing various meta-regression methods, I find that selective reporting within studies is about 20% more prevalent than publication bias arising from selection among studies. This finding underscores the considerable influence of practices such as p-hacking and method-searching, suggesting that they contribute significantly to selection bias in the economic literature and could affect the perceived reliability of published findings.