nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2021‒08‒09
three papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Deindustrialisation and the Drain Theory: The Contours of Economic Degradation in British India By Gadre, Animesh
  2. What’s Worth Knowing? Economists’ Opinions About Economics By Peter Andre; Armin Falk
  3. What is the Media Impact of Research in Economics? By Lennart Ziegler

  1. By: Gadre, Animesh
    Abstract: Given the lively debate on the consequences of British colonialism on the Indian economy in the realms of contemporary politics and academia, this paper attempts to trace the development of the economic history of India since the 18th century with a distinct focus on the drain theory of wealth and the question of deindustrialisation. It examines a diverse set of academic publications on this subject and compares the evidence shown by a wide range of authors to arrive at possible conclusions. It is found that the composition of the drain theory of wealth was critically questioned by scholars both home and abroad, and its set of core suppo- sitions remain unsubstantiated. On the other hand, the evidence for the deindustrialisation hypothesis is found to be significant, at least for the regions of Gangetic Bihar and Bengal, during the early 19th century.
    Keywords: drain; deindustrialisation; colonialism; economic degradation
    JEL: N95 O1
    Date: 2021–07–28
  2. By: Peter Andre; Armin Falk
    Abstract: We document economists’ opinions about what is worth knowing and ask (i) which research objectives economic research should embrace and (ii) which topics it should study. Almost 10,000 economic researchers from all fields and ranks of the profession participated in our global survey. Detailed bibliometric data show that our sample represents the population of economic researchers who publish in English. We report three main findings. First, economists’ opinions are vastly heterogeneous. Second, most researchers are dissatisfied with the status quo, in terms of both research topics and objectives. Third, on average, respondents think that economic research should become more policy-relevant, multidisciplinary, risky and disruptive, and pursue more diverse topics. We also find that dissatisfaction with the status quo is more prevalent among female scholars and associated with lower job satisfaction and higher stress levels. Taken together, the results suggest that economics as a field does not appreciate and work on what economists collectively prefer.
    JEL: A11 A14
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Lennart Ziegler
    Abstract: Many research institutions aim to have a strong public impact but little evidence exists on the extent to which research findings reach a wider audience. Using a large sample of studies released in the working paper series of the National Bureau of Economic Research, I identify online coverage of research findings in 6 major news outlets. The analysis shows significant coverage rates in most newspapers in the first month after study release. Overall, about every 11th working paper is covered at least once during this period. I also find that media reporting is correlated with several author and study characteristics. While differences in coverage between most research areas are modest, empirical as well as US-focused studies receive substantially more attention. In particular, widely cited papers are covered more frequently, showing that academic success of studies serves as a strong predictor for wider public impact.
    JEL: A11 A14 L82
    Date: 2103–07

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