NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Using Split Samples to Improve Inference about Causal Effects

Marcel Fafchamps, Julien Labonne

NBER Working Paper No. 21842
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

We discuss a method aimed at reducing the risk that spurious results are published. Researchers send their datasets to an independent third party who randomly generates training and testing samples. Researchers perform their analysis on the former and once the paper is accepted for publication the method is applied to the latter and it is those results that are published. Simulations indicate that, under empirically relevant settings, the proposed method significantly reduces type I error and delivers adequate power. The method – that can be combined with pre-analysis plans – reduces the risk that relevant hypotheses are left untested.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21842

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