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Fisheries Management

  • David D. Laitin (a1)


Both papers in this volume on which I was asked to comment (James E. Monogan III, “A Case for Registering Studies of Political Outcomes: An Application in the 2010 House Elections” and Macartan Humphreys, Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, and Peter van der Windt, “Fishing, Commitment, and Communication: A Proposal for Comprehensive Nonbinding Research Registration”) advocate registration regimes for our discipline. The recommendations in both are incremental [promoting, as Lindblom (1965) might have said it, the “intelligence of research” and cognizant of the costs in scientific learning from such a regime if rigidly enforced. Moreover, both papers cite studies by Gerber and various co-authors (e.g., Gerber, Green, and Nickerson 2001) demonstrating publication bias in political science, incentivizing researchers to manipulate their regression models until they can show a z-statistic ≥ 1.96, and thereby reaching standard levels of significance. I fully accept that Gerber et al.'s papers have detected a serious flaw in our scientific practices; there is a problem to be solved. The Monogan and Humphreys et al. proposals are therefore worthy of consideration.



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Boix, Carles. 2011. Democracy, development, and the international system. American Political Science Review 105(4): 809–28.
Boix, Carles, and Stokes, Susan. 2003. Endogenous democratization. World Politics 55: 517–49.
Casey, Katherine, Glennerster, Rachel, and Miguel, Edward. Forthcoming. Reshaping institutions: Evidence on aid impacts using a pre-analysis plan. Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Gerber, Alan S., and Green, Donald P. 2012. Field experiments. New York: Norton.
Gerber, Alan S., Green, Donald P., and Nickerson, David. 2001. Testing for publication bias in political science. Political Analysis 9(4): 385–92.
Humphreys, Macartan, Sanchez de la Sierra, Raul, and van der Windt, Peter. 2013. Fishing, commitment, and communication: A proposal for comprehensive nonbinding research registration. Political Analysis 21: 120.
King, Gary, Keohane, Robert, and Verba, Sidney. 1994. Designing social inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lindblom, Charles. 1965. The intelligence of democracy. New York: Free Press.
Monogan, James E. III. 2013. A case for registering studies of political outcomes: An application in the 2010 House elections. Political Analysis 21: 2137.
Przeworski, Adam, Alvarez, Michael E., and Cheibub, José Antonio. 2000. Democracy and development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Simmons, Joseph P., Nelson, Leif D., and Simonsohn, Uri. 2011. False-positive psychology: Undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allow presenting anything as significant. Psychological Science 22: 1359–66.
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