nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2010‒12‒18
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The evaluation of citation distributions from an economic perspective By Javier Ruiz-Castillo
  2. La ricerca economica in Italia tra pluralismo e monismo: i giovani economisti negli ultimi trent’anni By Birolo, Adriano
  3. The creation of internet communities: A brief history of on-line distribution of working papers through NEP, 1998-2010 By Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Krichel, Thomas

  1. By: Javier Ruiz-Castillo
    Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate that a blend of welfare economics and statistical analysis is useful in the evaluation of the distribution of the citations received by scientific papers in the periodical literature. The paper begins by reviewing the connection between basic scientific quality and citation impact. Next, a summary of results about the citation distributions’ basic features is offered. These results indicate that citation distributions share the same shape, are highly skewed, are often crowned by a power law, and are at a certain bounded distance from each other. In light of this evidence, two normative issues are addressed. Firstly, a novel methodology for the evaluation of research units is illustrated by comparing the citation impact achieved by the U.S., the European Union, and the rest of the world in 22 scientific fields. Secondly, some preliminary thoughts about how to allocate a budget among a set of research fields with the purpose of promoting scientific excellence are included.
    Date: 2010–12
  2. By: Birolo, Adriano
    Abstract: Taking as good the famous definition of economics attributed to Viner, “Economics is what economists do”, it is surprising to see how little the history of economics has addressed the matter of what economists actually do, above all outside the USA. The vast mass of data on research output which has recently become readily accessible and arrangeable are allowed in this contribution to put into focus (to sharpen) the Italian “representative” economist, at the first rung of the academic ladder, the “Researcher” (ricercatore), in three subsequent periods over last 30 years, 1984 – 2005. With the aim, on the one hand, to trace out the evolution of the scientific profile from the beginning of the 1980s until the end of the period; on the other hand, to verify whether the progressive internationalisation of the profession, the increasing influence of the Anglo-Saxon way of organising research with the introduction of evaluation criteria taking into account the prominence achieved by publications have effectively modified the subjects and methods of research. An extensive database of publications of three cohorts of young economists at the first step of the academic career has been construded. The publications has been classified on the basis of the research structure in economics prevailing at the edge of the 1980s, thus to outline from the inside the evolution of our research model. The outcome: that research model has lost the most part of his pluralistic peculiarities to close in significantly the monistic Anglo-Saxon model. Not a result unexpected; the novelty to emphasize is that the change appeared not step by step but all of a sudden at the transition from the 1980s to the1990s. The publications of the last cohort don’t do anything but conferm that change. Even whitin this metamorphosis, however, the research model that young researchers currently carry out, shows a specificity of the old one: the prominently role, even in the international comparison, of the History of economic analysis that, just about lone, supports the fleg of the pluralism. Other research areas that were typical of and characterized the Italian research model, also in the international research market, such as, for instance, the critical theories (Sraffian and Post-keynesian) coming from the Cambridge (Uk) tradition, have, almost completely, got out from the hunt territory crossed by the young Italian economists; because, perhaps, they are inclined to believe that an academic carrier as economist cannot be developed smoothly if based on research themes outside the nowadays mainstream.
    Keywords: Italian research model in economics; evolution; pluralism; monism
    JEL: B40 B00 A10 A14
    Date: 2010–10
  3. By: Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo; Krichel, Thomas
    Abstract: This paper adds to the growing literature on the formation of online communities from an historical perspective by telling of the emergence and development of a service for speedy, online distribution of recent additions to the broad literatures on economics and related areas called NEP: New Economics Papers as well as the online community that grew around it. We provide details of the social and technological challenges for its construction as well as the evolution of its governance. The development of NEP provides an illustrative example for the kind of new business models that have emerged as the Internet has been used by creative minds to provide existing services in a new way.
    Keywords: digital libraries; online communities; open source; New Economic Papers (NEP); RePEc
    JEL: N8 A31 L63
    Date: 2010–11

This nep-sog issue is ©2010 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.
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