nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2006‒12‒04
five papers chosen by
Jonas Holmstrom
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The Status of Women Economists in the U.S. — and the World By Joyce P. Jacobsen
  2. The Economics of Rhetoric: On Metaphors as Institutions By Lanteri, Alessandro; Yalcintas, Altug
  3. The economics of universtity : a knowledge governance approach By Antonelli Cristiano
  4. The production of scientific knowledge in Italy: evidence in theoretical applied and technical sciences By Patrucco Pier Paolo
  5. E-Governance of Universities: A Proposal of Benchmarking Methodology By Raposo, Mario; Leitao, Joao; Paco, Arminda

  1. By: Joyce P. Jacobsen (Economics Department, Wesleyan University)
    Abstract: This paper gives an overview of the current (and recent past) status of women economists in the United States and describes what American economists have done to promote gender equality in the economics profession. Initiatives include in large part what the American Economic Association, through its Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession has done. It also discusses the creation and subsequent activities of the International Association for Feminist Economics and the activities of several other groups and committees recently formed in other parts of the world. It closes by considering what needs to be done worldwide to improve the status and increase the participation of women in the economics profession.
    Keywords: academic labor markets, economics profession, women in economics
    JEL: J16 J44 J49 J70
    Date: 2005–11
  2. By: Lanteri, Alessandro; Yalcintas, Altug
    Abstract: The professional life of economists takes place within the boundaries of the institution of academic economics. Belonging to the institution enable economists in many ways. It provides a context wherein their contribution is meaningful. But it constrains, too, what economists are allowed to do or say. Thus, institutions both enable and constrain individual action. Metaphors do the same and are therefore, in this respect, institutions. They are place-holders to communicate our beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. So far, there is nothing wrong. This may become a problem, however, as Richard Rorty has once said, when the “happenstance of our cultural development [is] that we got stuck so long with place-holders.” In the essay we focus on the enabling and disabling roles of metaphors as institutions in the rhetoric of economics. We argue, from the perspective of economics of rhetoric, that some of the metaphors can lead us to path dependent circumstances where the performance of the metaphors is not as desirable as it was when the metaphors were first introduced. Sometimes certain metaphors undergo exaptation, and are employed with new functions. Altogether, we believe, the tools of institutional economics can be fruitfully employed to study metaphors.
    Keywords: Economics of rhetoric; metaphors as Institutions; path Dependence; exaptation.
    JEL: B52 B25 B41
    Date: 2006–04
  3. By: Antonelli Cristiano (University of Turin)
    Abstract: University is becoming the beam of the new emerging mode of governance of the generation and dissemination of knowledge as it reveals remarkable institutional advantages both to provide a solution to the knowledge trade-off and to reduce agency costs. The typical academic labor relation emerges as an appropriate institutional device to handle the principal-agent problems when creative talents are required. The unique institutional setup of the academic system creates the supply of certified skills that are ready to operate on a professional base. Such academic consultants can be paid on an ex-post per job base matching their variable costs only. This supply leads to the creation of a specific market for research services where the demand is provided by the knowledge outsourcing of corporations.
    Date: 2006–02
  4. By: Patrucco Pier Paolo (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The paper presents preliminary empirical evidence on the production of scientific knowledge in I ta1y, in theoretical sciences (physics), applied sciences (chemistry) and technical sciences (engineering and petrology). It elaborates on an originaI dataset of publications and citations for 2,673 Italian researchers, distributed across 61 universities, covering the years between 1990 and 2004. According to a well-established tradition of studies in the economics of science, the results show that individuaI distribution is quite asymmetric, with very few researchers accounting for a great amount of scientific output. More interestingly, the paper also shows that there afe important differences in terms of asymmetric distribution when the different disciplines, universities and academic positions of the researchers afe compared. These differences open the way to interpretation in terms of two main factors. Firstty, the various disciplines can be characterised by specific knowledge bases, learning practices, organisation of scientific labour, and communication norms. Secondly, specific weaknesses in the hiring, incentive and monitoring schemes at discipline and university level can explain different degrees of asymmetry. Both these factors bave important implications for a research agenda on the governance of science. Finally, the paper shows that, at the aggregate level, scientific productivity benefit from a concentration of R&D expenditures only to a minor extent, and subject 10 decreasing returns. The effect of extemalities stemming from R&D investments is limited. The scope of the concentration of R&D resources can therefore be questioned.
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Raposo, Mario; Leitao, Joao; Paco, Arminda
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide a benchmarking proposal related to the area of e-governance of universities. An e-governance tool is proposed in order to disseminate both the mission and the institutional culture of each University into a formal scheme of benchmarking tools. A brief review of the literature related to e-governance models is made in order to justify the importance of e-business practices in universities. Some studies developed in the field of benchmarking in the universities were also selected, using different methodologies. Through the analysis of the most relevant studies, a set of indicators was built in order to evaluate the benchmark related to e-governance. In what concerns the electronic governance of universities the benchmark comes from the development of a manual of benchmarking that comprises new evaluation and control areas of the performance of universities, in terms of their contribution for the development of the regions where they are located. The creation of a manual of benchmarking applied to universities, is proposed. In order to validate, or even to improve the manual, it’s necessary to test it not only in universities, but also in other related stakeholders that take part of the institutional networks of universities. Once implemented, the proposed benchmark provides a better way to evaluate the current practices and to identify the best practices. It could also improve the performance of universities in what concerns the e-governance systems.
    Keywords: Benchmarking; E-Governance; University.
    JEL: M1
    Date: 2006–10–16

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