nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2010‒01‒10
five papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. How much do journal titles tell us about the academic interest and relevance of economic research? An empirical analysis By Felix Schlaepfer
  2. Economists in the PITS? By Bruno S. Frey
  3. Desk rejection in an academic publication market model with matching frictions By Besancenot, Damien; Huynh, Kim; Vranceanu, Radu
  4. Why Are Economics Students More Selfish than the Rest? By Bauman, Yoram; Rose, Elaina
  5. Discrimination in Scientific Review - A natural field experiment on blind versus non-blind review By Carlsson, Fredrik; Löfgren, Åsa; Sterner, Thomas

  1. By: Felix Schlaepfer (Institute for Environmental Decision, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)
    Abstract: Unlike in other disciplines, research output in economics is commonly measured based on the journal titles in which an author has published. Here, I examine how much output measures based on journal titles tell us about the academic interest and relevance of economic papers as measured by citation frequency. Using data from the 2008 Handelsblatt ranking of economists in German speaking countries and interdisciplinary citation data from the Web of Science, I find that researcher scores based on journal titles explain only about one fourth of the variation (variance) in article citations. When the top 10 (20) percent of the researchers according to journal title scores are excluded, the percentage of explained variation in citation frequency drops to 5 (3) percent. These findings empirically confirm the hypothesis that the measures of research output in economics promote narrow and complacent work that is of interest to few, even among an academic audience. They suggest that responsible hiring committees and funding institutions should re-examine existing standards in evaluation and abandon the heavy reliance on journal titles as a measure of individual research output.
    Keywords: citation index, incentives, publication, research evaluation, scientometrics
    JEL: A10
    Date: 2009–12
  2. By: Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: Academic economists today are caught in a "Publication Impossibility Theorem System" or PITS. In order to further their careers, they are required to publish in A-journals, but for the vast majority this is impossible because there are few slots open for them in such journals. Such academic competition maybe useful to generate hard work; however, there may be serious negative consequences: the wrong output may be produced in an inefficient way, the wrong people may be selected, and losers may react in a harmful way. This article suggests several ways to remedy this situation.
    Keywords: Academia; Economists; Publication; Journals; Incentives; Economic methodology
    JEL: A1 D02 I23
    Date: 2009–12
  3. By: Besancenot, Damien (CEPN, Centre d'Economie de Paris Nord and University Paris 13); Huynh, Kim (LEM, Laboratoire d'économie moderne and University Paris 2); Vranceanu, Radu (ESSEC Business School)
    Abstract: Subject to a huge and growing number of journal titles in business and economics, scholars sometimes target the wrong journal. Editors resort more and more to paper pre-screening, and desk reject those that do not fit well to the editorial line. This paper provides a dynamic analysis of the market for academic publications that brings into the picture these matching frictions. The key modelling device is a paper-journal matching function, similar to the matching function traditional in labor economics. Our main endogenous variables are the submission fee and the tension in the publication market, itself directly related to the number of journal titles.
    Keywords: Academic Journals; Desk Rejection; Editors; Imperfect Information; Matching
    JEL: A14 C78
    Date: 2009–11
  4. By: Bauman, Yoram (University of Washington); Rose, Elaina (University of Washington)
    Abstract: A substantial body of research suggests that economists are less generous than other professionals and that economics students are less generous than other students. We address this question using administrative data on donations to social programs by students at the University of Washington. Our data set allows us to track student donations and economics training over time in order to distinguish selection effects from indoctrination effects. We find that economics majors are less likely to donate than other students and that there is an indoctrination effect for non-majors but not for majors. Women majors and non-majors are less likely to contribute than comparable men.
    Keywords: altruism, public goods
    JEL: A13 D64
    Date: 2009–12
  5. By: Carlsson, Fredrik (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Löfgren, Åsa (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Sterner, Thomas (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impacts of gender, as well as other author characteristics, on reviewers’ grading of papers submitted to an international conference in economics in Sweden in 2008. Correcting for other variables, including country and research field as well as researcher academic level, we focus on the difference in grades between blind and non-blind review treatments. We find little effect of non-blind reviewing and no significant evidence of gender or any other type of discrimination. Furthermore, we do not find any significant difference between the average grading by female and male reviewers.<p>
    Keywords: Gender discrimination; review
    JEL: C93 J16
    Date: 2009–12–09

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