Comparative Environmental Economic Assessment
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Comparative Environmental Economic Assessment

Edited by Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp and Kenneth G. Willis

Over the last decade, economists have increasingly recognized the role of meta-analysis and value transfer in synthesizing knowledge and efficiently exploiting the existing pool of knowledge. Comparative Environmental Economic Assessment explores the potential significance of using these techniques, particularly in environmental economics. Both meta-analysis and value transfer constitute major research tools which efficiently use knowledge previously acquired from other studies. The book focuses on the potential role and usefulness of these tools in environmental economic research, and goes on to address their validity, relevance and applicability
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Chapter 10: Methodological pitfalls in meta-analysis: publication bias

Raymond J.G.M. Florax


10. Methodological pitfalls in metaanalysis: publication bias Raymond J.G.M. Florax* 1 INTRODUCTION An important characteristic of modern science is the enormous production of researchers. There is a growing stream of scientific output in the form of patents, publications and knowledge-based consultancy to industry and the public sector. In this chapter we will be concerned with publications, which should in the current context be understood as a rather broad concept. The term ‘publication’ refers to traditional journal articles (provided as hard copy or digitally online), monographs and edited volumes, but also to outlets that are more difficult of access, such as theses and dissertations, research memoranda, working papers and mimeos of conference papers. Following what is already standard practice in medicine, education, marketing and psychology, economists now increasingly use meta-analysis as a tool to synthesize and summarize the insights prevailing in the literature (van den Bergh et al., 1997). The critical feature distinguishing meta-analysis from other types of summarizing techniques, such as state-of-the-art reviews and expert assessments (see Button, Chapter 5 of the present volume), is its statistical nature. Meta-analysis is concerned with the statistical analysis of research results of studies performed previously, and should thus be distinguished from primary and secondary analysis (Glass, 1976). Hunter and Schmidt (1990) succinctly define meta-analysis as the ‘analysis of analyses’. Although literature reviews are valuable in their own right, an important drawback is that they are usually implicitly based on vote counting (Light and Smith, 1971). Vote counting essentially boils down...

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