nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2006‒06‒03
eight papers chosen by
Jonas Holmstrom
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-makers By Oswald, Andrew J.
  2. Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge? By E. Han Kim; Adair Morse; Luigi Zingales
  3. The Effectiveness of University Technology Transfer: Lessons Learned from Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the U.S. and U.K. By Phillip H. Phan; Donald S. Siegel
  4. An Empirical Analysis of the Propensity of Academics to Engage in Informal University Technology Transfer By Albert N. Link; Donald S. Siegel; Barry Bozeman
  5. The Growing Allocative Inefficiency of the U.S. Higher Education Sector By James D. Adams; J. Roger Clemmons
  6. How Rapidly Does Science Leak Out? By James D. Adams; J. Roger Clemmons; Paula E. Stephan
  7. Does Expansion Cause Congestion? The Case of the Older British Universities, 1994 to 2004 By Tony Flegg; David O. Allen
  8. Funding Higher Education and Wage Uncertainty: Income Contingent Loan Versus Mortgate Loan By Migali, Giuseppe

  1. By: Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: In universities all over the world, hiring and promotion committees regularly hear the argument: “this is important work because it is about to appear in prestigious journal X”. Moreover, those who allocate levels of research funding, such as in the multi-billion pound Research Assessment Exercise in UKuniversities, often come under pressure to assess research quality in a mechanical way by using journal prestige ratings. This paper’s results suggest that such tendencies are dangerous. It uses total citations over a quarter of a century as the criterion. The paper finds that it is far better to publish the best article in an issue of a medium-quality journal like the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics than to publish the worst article (or often the worst 4 articles) in an issue of a top journal like the American Economic Review. Implications are discussed.
    Keywords: research ; productivity ; economics journals ; Research Assessment Exercise
    JEL: A11
    Date: 2006
  2. By: E. Han Kim; Adair Morse; Luigi Zingales
    Abstract: We study the location-specific component in research productivity of economics and finance faculty who have ever been affiliated with the top 25 universities in the last three decades. We find that there was a positive effect of being affiliated with an elite university in the 1970s; this effect weakened in the 1980s and disappeared in the 1990s. We decompose this university fixed effect and find that its decline is due to the reduced importance of physical access to productive research colleagues. We also find that salaries increased the most where the estimated externality dropped the most, consistent with the hypothesis that the de-localization of this externality makes it more difficult for universities to appropriate any rent. Our results shed some light on the potential effects of the internet revolution on knowledge-based industries.
    JEL: D85 I23 J24 J31 J62 L23 L31 O33
    Date: 2006–05
  3. By: Phillip H. Phan (Lally School of Management & Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); Donald S. Siegel (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA)
    Abstract: In recent years, there have been numerous studies of the effectiveness of university technology transfer. Such technology transfer mechanisms include licensing agreements between the university and private firms, science parks, incubators, and university-based startups. We review and synthesize these papers and present some pointed recommendations on how to enhance effectiveness. Implementation of these recommendations will depend on the mechanisms that universities choose to stress, based on their technology transfer "strategy." For example, institutions that emphasize the entrepreneurial dimension of technology transfer must address skill deficiencies in technology transfer offices, reward systems that are inconsistent with enhanced entrepreneurial activity and the lack of training for faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students in starting new ventures or interacting with entrepreneurs. We conjecture that business schools are best positioned to address these skill and educational deficiencies through the delivery of targeted programs to technology licensing officers and members of the campus community wishing to launch startup firms.
    JEL: M13 D24 L31 O31 O32
    Date: 2006–04
  4. By: Albert N. Link (Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA); Donald S. Siegel (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); Barry Bozeman (Department of Public Administration and Policy, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA)
    Abstract: Formal university technology transfer mechanisms, through licensing agreements, research joint ventures, and university-based startups, have attracted considerable attention in the academic literature. Surprisingly, there has been little systematic empirical analysis of the propensity of academics to engage in informal technology transfer. This paper presents empirical evidence on the determinants of three types of informal technology transfer by faculty members: knowledge transfer, joint publications with industry scientists, and consulting. We find that male and tenured faculty members are more likely to engage in all three forms of informal technology transfer. We also find that academics who allocate a relatively higher percentage of their time to grants-related research are more likely to engage in informal commercial knowledge transfer.
    JEL: M13 D24 L31 O31 O32
    Date: 2006–05
  5. By: James D. Adams (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); J. Roger Clemmons (Institute for Child Health Policy, College of Medicine of the University of Florida)
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on research and teaching productivity in universities. The findings are based on a panel that covers 1981-1999 and includes 102 top U.S. universities. Faculty size grows at 0.6 percent per year, compared with growth of 4.9 percent in the industrial science and engineering workforce. Measured by papers and citations per researcher, productivity grows at 1.4-6.7 percent per year and productivity and its rate of growth are higher in private than public universities. Measured by baccalaureate and graduate degrees per teacher, teaching productivity grows at 0.8-1.1 percent per year and growth is faster in public than private universities. A decomposition analysis shows that growth in research productivity within universities exceeds overall growth. This is because research shares grow more rapidly in universities whose productivity grows less rapidly. Likewise the research share of public universities increases even though productivity grows less rapidly in public universities. Together these findings suggest that allocative efficiency of U.S. higher education declined during the late 20th century. Regression analysis of individual universities finds that R&D stock, endowment, and postdoctoral students increase research productivity, that the effect of nonfederal R&D stock is less, and that research is subject to decreasing returns. Since the nonfederal R&D share grows and is much higher in public universities, this could account for some of the rising allocative inefficiency. The evidence for decreasing returns in research, which are greater than in teaching, suggests limits on the ability of more efficient institutions to expand and implies that differences in the scale of the teaching function are the primary reason for differences in university size. Besides all this the data strongly hint at growing financial pressures on U.S. public universities.
    JEL: J3 L3 O3
    Date: 2006–05
  6. By: James D. Adams (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); J. Roger Clemmons (Institute for Child Health Policy, College of Medicine of the University of Florida); Paula E. Stephan (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: In science as well as technology, the diffusion of new ideas influences innovation and productive efficiency. With this as motivation we use citations to scientific papers to measure the diffusion of science through the U.S. economy. To indicate the speed of diffusion we rely primarily on the modal or most frequent lag. Using this measure we find that diffusion between universities as well as between firms and universities takes an average of three years. The lag on science diffusion between firms is 3.3 years, compared with 4.8 years in technology for the same companies using the same methodology. Industrial science diffuses fifty per cent more rapidly than technology, and academic science diffuses still faster. Thus the priority publication system in science appears to distribute information more rapidly than the patent system, although other interpretations are possible. We also find that the speed of science diffusion in the same field varies by a factor of two across industries. The industry variation turns out to be driven by frictional publication lags and firm size in R&D and science. Friction increases the lag, but firm size in R&D and science decrease it. Industries having a lot of R&D or science and composed of fields with little friction exhibit rapid diffusion. Industries where the reverse is true exhibit slow diffusion.
    JEL: L3 O3
    Date: 2006–05
  7. By: Tony Flegg (School of Economics, University of the West of England); David O. Allen (School of Economics, University of the West of England)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether the rapid growth in the number of students in British universities in recent years has led to congestion, in the sense that certain universities’ output could have been higher if this expansion had been less rapid. The focus of the paper is on 45 older universities that were in existence prior to 1992. The analysis covers the period 1994/5 to 2003/4. Several alternative methods of measuring congestion are examined and, to check the sensitivity of the results to different specifications, three alternative DEA models are formulated. The results indicate that congestion was present throughout the decade under review, and in a wide range of universities, but whether it rose or fell is uncertain, as this depends on which congestion model is used. A crucial point here is whether one assumes constant or variable returns to scale. Nonetheless, all models point to a rise in congestion between 2001/2 and 2003/4, and this may well be a result of the rapid growth that occurred in this period. All models also record a sharp drop in mean technical efficiency in 2003/4. A possible explanation of the absence of a clear-cut trend in congestion is that the student : staff ratio in these universities was relatively stable in the decade under review, rising only gently from 2000/1 onwards.
    Keywords: British universities; congestion; DEA
    Date: 2006–05
  8. By: Migali, Giuseppe (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: In a world where graduate incomes are uncertain (observation of the UK graduate wages from 1993 to 2003) and the higher education is financed through governmental loan (UK Higher Education Reform 2004), we build a theoretical model to show which scheme between an income contingent loan and a mortgage loan is preferred for higher level of uncertainty. Assuming a single lifetime shock on graduate incomes, we compare the individual expected utilities under the two loan schemes, for both risk neutral and risk averse individuals. We extend the analysis for graduate people working in the public sector and private sector, to stress on the extreme difference on the level of uncertainty. To make the model more realistic, we allow for the effects of the uncertainty each year for all the individual working life, assuming that the graduate income grows following a geometric Brownian motion. In general, we find that an income contingent loan is preferred for low level of the starting wage and high uncertainty.
    Keywords: Choice ; Risk Aversion ; Uncertainty
    JEL: D81 H20
    Date: 2006

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