nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2008‒10‒13
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality? By Bruno S. Frey; Katja Rost
  2. Mapping of the PhDs in the Private Sector. A Literature Review By Susanna Stén

  1. By: Bruno S. Frey; Katja Rost
    Abstract: Publication and citation rankings have become major indicators of the scientific worth of universities and countries, and determine to a large extent the career of individual scholars. We argue that such rankings do not effectively measure research quality, which should be the essence of evaluation. For that reason, an alternative ranking is developed as a quality indicator, based on membership on academic editorial boards of professional journals. It turns out that especially the ranking of individual scholars is far from objective. The results differ markedly, depending on whether research quantity or research quality is considered. Even quantity rankings are not objective; two citation rankings, based on different samples, produce entirely different results. It follows that any career decisions based on rankings are dominated by chance and do not reflect research quality. Instead of propagating a ranking based on board membership as the gold standard, we suggest that committees make use of this quality indicator to find members who, in turn, evaluate the research quality of individual scholars.
    Keywords: Rankings, Universities, Scholars, Publications, Citations
    JEL: H43 L15 O38
    Date: 2008–10
  2. By: Susanna Stén
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : This review maps out the labour market situation of PhDs employed in the private sector. To begin with, the theoretical motives for employing PhDs and the supporting empirical evidence are examined. The potential benefits of companies from employing PhDs can be divided into productivity and innovation effects as well as knowledge contributions from networking, and external effects. Next, the international empirical literature on PhDs in the private sector is surveyed. The mostly US based research focuses primarily on PhDs in the fields of science and engineering. It provides no synoptic picture of the employment situation of the PhDs in the private sector and leaves a need for further research. A more detailed review of the Finnish literature shows that the private sector employs only about 15% of all PhDs in the Finnish labour market. There is, however, large variation between different fields of study, genders and age groups. The rapid increase in graduating PhDs in recent years indicate that the employment patterns of PhDs might be changing. Further research is needed to answer questions like : How has the increased supply changed the labour market situation of PhDs? Has the role of the private sector as an employer of PhDs changed? And is the allocation of PhDs between fields of study efficient? Another issue that has earned only very little attention is the mobility of PhDs in the labour market. Mobility within and between sectors is very important for both the diffusion of knowledge in the economy and the development of the career and wage profiles of PhDs. Because of the recent development, the existing knowledge gaps and the rapidly ageing research conducted up to this day, there is, thus, an urgent need for further research in this field.
    Keywords: PhDs, private sector, career, wages, employment
    JEL: J24 J44 J6
    Date: 2008–10–03

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