December 2016

No. 10403: Replication in Labor Economics: Evidence from Data, and What It Suggests

published in: American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings 2017, 107(5): 37–40

Examining the most heavily-cited publications in labor economics from the early 1990s, I show that few of over 3000 articles citing them directly replicates them. They are replicated more frequently using data from other time periods and economies, so that the validity of their central ideas has typically been verified. This pattern of scholarship suggests, beyond the currently required depositing of data and code upon publication, that there is little need for formal mechanisms for replication. The market for scholarship already produces replications of non-laboratory applied research.