nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2008‒12‒21
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. What explains the academic success of second-year economics students? An exploratory analysis By Pietie Horn; Ada Jansen; Derek Yu
  2. Inventorship and Authorship in Patent-Publication Pairs: an Enquiry into the Economics of Scientific Credit By Francesco Lissoni; Fabio Montobbio
  3. The impact of New Public Management (NPM) instruments on PhD education By Peter Schneider; Dieter Sadowski

  1. By: Pietie Horn (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Ada Jansen (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Derek Yu (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: The factors influencing academic success of first-year Economics students have received much attention from researchers. Very little attention, however, has been given to the determinants of success of senior Economics students. In the USA, Graunke and Woosley (2005: 367) indicate that college sophomores (second years) face academic difficulties, but this receives little attention in the literature. Economics is an elective subject for second-year students at Stellenbosch University. The academic performance of the second-year students has shown a decline, as compared to the first-year Economics performance and the faculty’s average performance. An observed phenomenon at Stellenbosch University is the poor attendance of lecture and tutorials by second year students, some of the factors than can perhaps explain why students perform poorly. This phenomenon may be explained in part by second year students losing interest in academic activities, focusing on other social commitments. This study investigates the academic success of second-year Economics students. It adds to the existing literature on the factors affecting the academic success of Economics students by focusing on the second-year students (a much neglected group in empirical studies, particularly in South Africa). The empirical analyses confirm some of the existing findings in the literature, namely that lecture and tutorial attendance are important contributors to academic success. We also find that as students progress to Economics at the second-year level, their performance in individual matriculation subjects is less relevant, except for those students who had taken Additional Mathematics. However, the matriculation aggregate mark is significant in explaining the academic performance, in a non-linear way. An important finding is that non-White students tend to perform more poorly in essay writing (one of the components of the course mark in the second year) than White students.
    Keywords: Education, Undergraduate, Second-year economics, Academic performance
    JEL: A2 A22 A29
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Francesco Lissoni (Università degli Studi di Brescia and KITeS, Bocconi Univerity - Milan - Italy); Fabio Montobbio (Università dell'Insubria, Varese and KITeS, Bocconi Univerity - Milan - Italy)
    Abstract: Authorship and inventorship are attribution rights that contribute to the reputation of individual scientists, but have to be distributed across several individuals, due to the importance of teamwork in both science and technology. For academic teams that both publish and patent their research results, we can compare the social and legal norms that regulate the joint distribution of these two types of attribution rights. We use text-mining techniques to identify 681 “patent-publication pairs” (related sets of patents and publications), for a sample of Italian academic scientists. On average, the number of coauthors is larger than the number of co-inventors, especially in medical-related fields. First and last authors have a lower probability of being excluded from inventorship, as suggested by patent laws. However, the probability of exclusion also declines with seniority, as expected from social norms. Longlasting doubts on the reliability of authorship as a tool for allocating scientific credit are reinforced, and can be extended to inventorship.
    JEL: O31 O34 L30
    Date: 2008–11
  3. By: Peter Schneider; Dieter Sadowski (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EC, University of Trier)
    Abstract: New public governance emphasizes less state, more market and more hierarchy as the cornerstones for effective steering of higher education institutions. Based on an explorative analysis of qualitative and quantitative data of fourteen German and European economics departments, we investigate the steering effects of six new public management (NPM) instruments in the years 2001 to 2002 on subsequent placement success of PhD graduates. Using crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to analyze the data, our results deliver strong support for the positive effects of competition for resources and the partial harmful effects of hierarchy on PhD education. Governance of successful departments is characterized by two solutions: additional funding based on evaluations as one single success factor in each solution or a combination of additional funding based on nationally competitive performance in addition with either no public policy regulations for departments or with no university regulations for departments. Governance of unsuccessful departments is characterized by one solution: university regulations for departments or a combination of no additional funding based on nationally competitive performance in addition with no additional funding based on evaluations. Our results strengthen the strong impact of selected competitive mechanisms as an effective indirect governance instrument and the partially detrimental effects of state regulation and more hierarchy as elements of direct governance instruments for successful PhD education.
    Keywords: New Public Management instruments, competition, state regulation, hierarchy, economics, PhD education, QCA
    Date: 2008–04

This nep-sog issue is ©2008 by Jonas Holmström. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.