nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2008‒03‒25
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity By Carillo, Maria Rosaria; Papagni, Erasmo; Capitanio, Fabian
  2. The Life Cycle of Scholars and Papers in Economics -- the "Citation Death Tax" By Joshua Aizenman; Kenneth Kletzer
  3. Running The Marathon By Cowan, William; Cowan, Robin; Llerena, Patrick

  1. By: Carillo, Maria Rosaria; Papagni, Erasmo; Capitanio, Fabian
    Abstract: Recent economic research has focused on the economic effects of the social environment. In the economic literature, important phenomena are considered, at least in part, as results of the individual's social environment. There is a similar revival of interest among economists who analyse the world of science and basic research. In this case as well, the environment plays a key role in the agent's behaviour. This paper makes an an empirical analysis of the influence of social interactions on scientists' productivity. In the econometric analysis we investigate the aggregate importance of this phenomenon through the analysis of data on publications in four scientific fields of seven advanced countries. We find that social interactions among researchers have positive effects on a scientist's productivity and that there is a U-shaped relation between the size of a scientific network and individual productivity. We interpret this result as providing evidence for threshold externalities and increasing returns to scale.
    Keywords: Keywords: scientists' productivity; increasing returns in science; social interactions.
    JEL: O41 H41 Z13
    Date: 2007–11
  2. By: Joshua Aizenman; Kenneth Kletzer
    Abstract: The information content of academic citations is subject to debate. This paper views premature death as a tragic "natural experiment," outlining a methodology identifying the "citation death tax" -- the impact of death of productive economists on the patterns of their citations. We rely on a sample of 428 papers written by 16 well known economists who died well before retirement, during the period of 1975-97. The news is mixed: for half of the sample, we identify a large and significant "citation death tax" for the average paper written by these scholars. For these authors, the estimated average missing citations per paper attributed to premature death ranges from 40% to 140% (the overall average is about 90%), and the annual costs of lost citations per paper are in the range 3% and 14%. Hence, a paper written ten years before the author’s death avoids a citation cost that varies between 30% and 140%. For the other half of the sample, there is no citation death tax; and for two Nobel Prize-caliber scholars in this second group, Black and Tversky, citations took off overtime, reflecting the growing recognitions of their seminal works.
    JEL: B4 B54 C81 C92 L14
    Date: 2008–03
  3. By: Cowan, William (David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo); Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Llerena, Patrick (BETA, Universite Louis Pasteur)
    Abstract: Over the twentieth century universities in the industrialized world have evolved from being "universities of culture" to "universities of innovation." Policy makers and universities themselves see that one of their major roles is supporting industrial innovation and thus economic growth. We argue that this rests on a mis-cconception of the nature of innovation and the value of universities. We argue that a more appropriate function for this institution is as the "university of reflection" where scholarship and truth-seeking are the ultimate goals.
    Keywords: innovation, university-industry relations, role of universities
    JEL: O31 O33 O38 Z0
    Date: 2008

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