Two little girls from Little Rock
In GRAPE, we have a special relation with Meta-Analysis: we already published two papers using these methods (links here and here), and we keep our fingers crossed for a third one (see here). Maybe because of that, or maybe out of his kindness, or quite likely a combination of both, Tom Stanley invited us to participate in the MAER (Meta-Analysis of Economic Research) Networkcolloquium celebrated close to Little Rock, Arkansas. We are extremely thankful to him and the crew at Hendrix College for such wonderful experience.
For those not familiar with the meta-analysis, it is useful to think about it as a tool that allows you to find the true effect size from the literature in a consistent and econometrically sound way. A concrete example might come in handy. Several articles, for example, studied whether the creation of the European Monetary Union helped to foster trade among its members. Different researchers found effects ranging from an implausible value of 200% to not statistically significant results. Given the wide range of results, what is the ``true'' effect size? Did the Euro boost trade among EMU members? Andy Rose asked these questions in his keynote speech. If you want to know the answer...you can check it here or replicate his findings using data posted online ;)
This example shows just one of the many questions that can be answered with the help of meta-analysis tools. One can also inquire about the many biases that plague the literature: the publication bias, the ``grey literature'' bias,... and a long etc. In a certain sense, meta-analysis helps to understand better our motivations as authors and eliminate some of the dubious practices from science, e.g. p-hacking. In short, what I am trying to say is that everyone should participate at least once in the MAER-Network colloquium. The extremely friendly and international environment makes these event even more enjoyable.
We are not going to reveal who are the two girls who came from Little Rock, but we will leave the video that served us as inspiration... maybe you can guess who is who.