Edited by Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp and Kenneth G. Willis
Chapter 2: Some parallels in the development of meta-analysis in the natural and social sciences
Reinout Heijungs* 1 INTRODUCTION A popular ﬁeld of interest in current economics is the ensemble that comprises meta-analysis, value transfer and beneﬁt transfer (see, for instance, Hunter and Schmidt, 1990; Wolf, 1986; van den Bergh et al., 1997). Ideas on what exactly is to be understood by this ensemble, and to what extent the three terms that span it are synonymous or imply one another, diverge somewhat. We will ﬁrst introduce the terms in order to base a subsequent discussion on fundamental aspects of these deﬁnitions. Bal and Nijkamp (1997, p.5) provide some clear deﬁnitions that we will be following: Meta-analysis [is] a scientiﬁc investigation of a well-deﬁned set of previously published individual studies concerning a certain subject, with the aim to apply qualitative as well as quantitative review techniques in order to make an integral cross-sectional or comparative study of the available material, leading to more insights on the chosen subject of research and ending up with a systematic synthesis. And Value transfer [...] is a scientiﬁc analysis of a subject under study, which aims to use cumulated knowledge generated via previously undertaken similar types of research endeavours in order to draw inferences on hitherto unexplored cases. It serves to meet the formulated study objectives of a repeated study against the least possible research cost. Moreover, beneﬁt analysis is considered to be synonymous with value transfer, and usage of the latter term is preferred. An argument for this is * I am indebted to...
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