Neither fixed nor random: weighted least squares meta-analysis

Stanley, T. D. and Doucouliagos, Hristos 2015, Neither fixed nor random: weighted least squares meta-analysis, Statistics in medicine, vol. 34, no. 13, pp. 2116-2127, doi: 10.1002/sim.6481.

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Title Neither fixed nor random: weighted least squares meta-analysis
Author(s) Stanley, T. D.
Doucouliagos, HristosORCID iD for Doucouliagos, Hristos
Journal name Statistics in medicine
Volume number 34
Issue number 13
Start page 2116
End page 2127
Total pages 12
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2015-06-15
ISSN 0277-6715
Keyword(s) meta-analysis
weighted least squares
fixed effect
random effects
meta-regression analysis
Summary This study challenges two core conventional meta-analysis methods: fixed effect and random effects. We show how and explain why an unrestricted weighted least squares estimator is superior to conventional random-effects meta-analysis when there is publication (or small-sample) bias and better than a fixed-effect weighted average if there is heterogeneity. Statistical theory and simulations of effect sizes, log odds ratios and regression coefficients demonstrate that this unrestricted weighted least squares estimator provides satisfactory estimates and confidence intervals that are comparable to random effects when there is no publication (or small-sample) bias and identical to fixed-effect meta-analysis when there is no heterogeneity. When there is publication selection bias, the unrestricted weighted least squares approach dominates random effects; when there is excess heterogeneity, it is clearly superior to fixed-effect meta-analysis. In practical applications, an unrestricted weighted least squares weighted average will often provide superior estimates to both conventional fixed and random effects.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/sim.6481
Field of Research 140302 Econometric and Statistical Methods
0104 Statistics
1117 Public Health And Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, John Wiley & Sons
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Department of Economics
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