A New Mechanism to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science-With An Application to the Public Goods Game
Creation of empirical knowledge in economics has taken a dramatic turn in the past few decades. One feature of the new research landscape is the nature and extent to which scholars generate data. Today, in nearly every field the experimental approach plays an increasingly crucial role in testing theories and informing organizational decisions. Whereas there is much to appreciate about this revolution, recently a credibility crisis has taken hold across the social sciences, arguing that an important component of Fischer (1935)'s tripod has not been fully embraced: replication. Indeed, while the importance of replications is not debatable scientifically, current incentives are not sufficient to encourage replications from the individual researcher's perspective. We analyze a novel mechanism that promotes replications by leveraging mutually beneficial gains between scholars and editors. We develop a model capturing the trade-offs involved in seeking independent replications before submission of a paper to journals. We demonstrate the operation of this method via an investigation of the effects of Knightian uncertainty on cooperation rates in public goods games, a pervasive and yet largely unexplored feature in the literature.
For useful comments we are grateful to Tommy Andersson, Alec Brandon, Gary Charness, Lucas Coffman, Anna Dreber, Lata Gangadharan, Håkan Holm, David Jimenez-Gomez, Johanna Mollerstrom, Fatemeh Momeni, John Nye, Giovanni Ponti, Adam Sanjurjo, Roberto Weber, as well as seminar participants at University of Chicago, Lund University, University of Alicante, George Mason University. On Grossman's side, this research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (DP130101695). On Villeval's side, this research has benefited from the support of IDEXLYON from Université de Lyon (INDEPTH) within the Programme Investissements dAvenir (ANR-16-IDEX-0005), and of the LABEX CORTEX (ANR-11-LABX-0042) within the program Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-11-IDEX-007) operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
This research has benefited from the support of IDEXLYON from Université de Lyon (INDEPTH) within the Programme Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-16-IDEX-0005), and of the LABEX CORTEX (ANR-11-LABX-0042) within the program
Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-11-IDEX-007) operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR).