nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2011‒09‒22
four papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Ranking scientists and departments in a consistent manner By Denis Bouyssou; Thierry Marchant
  2. Salience in Quality Disclosure: Evidence from the U.S. News College Rankings By Michael Luca; Jonathan Smith
  3. On the Evaluation of Economic Research: the Case of Italy By Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti; Federico Lucidi
  4. Between the Penthouse and the Outhouse: The Sorting of Economics Professors and the Quality of Military Personnel By Timothy Perri

  1. By: Denis Bouyssou (LAMSADE - Laboratoire d'analyse et modélisation de systèmes pour l'aide à la décision - CNRS : UMR7024 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX); Thierry Marchant (Department of Data Analysis - Ghent University)
    Abstract: The standard data that we use when computing bibliometric rankings of scientists are just their publication/citation records, i.e., so many papers with 0 citation, so many with 1 citation, so many with 2 citations, etc. The standard data for bibliometric rankings of departments have the same structure. It is therefore tempting (and many authors gave in to temptation) to use the same method for computing rankings of scientists and rankings of departments. Depending on the method, this can yield quite surprising and unpleasant results. Indeed, with some methods, it may happen that the "best" department contains the "worst" scientists, and only them. This problem will not occur if the rankings satisfy a property called consistency, recently introduced in the literature. In this paper, we explore the consequences of consistency and we characterize two families of consistent rankings.
    Keywords: Bibliometrics, ranking of scientists, ranking of departments
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Michael Luca (Harvard Business School, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit); Jonathan Smith (Advocacy and Policy Center - College Board)
    Abstract: How do rankings affect demand? This paper investigates the impact of college rankings, and the visibility of those rankings, on students' application decisions. Using natural experiments from U.S. News and World Report College Rankings, we present two main findings. First, we identify a causal impact of rankings on application decisions. When explicit rankings of colleges are published in U.S. News, a one-rank improvement leads to a 1-percentage-point increase in the number of applications to that college. Second, we show that the response to the information represented in rankings depends on the way in which that information is presented. Rankings have no effect on application decisions when colleges are listed alphabetically, even when readers are provided data on college quality and the methodology used to calculate rankings. This finding provides evidence that the salience of information is a central determinant of a firm's demand function, even for purchases as large as college attendance.
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti; Federico Lucidi
    Abstract: The Italian case can be considered as an internationally relevant example to suggest a critical reflection on the evaluation criteria adopted in research assessment exercises, pointing at the need of clear and shared guidelines based on transparency and accountability and aiming at preserving (or even encouraging) the pluralism of ideas. Our findings support the view that if research institutions are encouraged to engage only in those lines of research that are likely to receive the highest rating according to the adopted evaluation criteria, a convergence process is to be expected within Economics, resulting in a disregard of heterodox schools and historical methods in favour of mainstream approaches and quantitative methods. In our view, a proper fine-tuning of the assessment methodology is needed, before subsequent rankings can be used as a guide for the allocation of public financing among research institutions. In the case of Economics, this means overcoming the limits of commonly adopted peer review approaches, through the development of proper evaluation designs and the integration of qualitative appraisals with quantitative indicators. In order to preserve pluralism and originality of research, we propose a simple quantitative index based on field-normalization.
    Keywords: research evaluation; contemporary research in economics; Italy
    JEL: A11 A14 B20 B40 B50
    Date: 2011–03–10
  4. By: Timothy Perri
    Abstract: Oyer (2007, 2008) considered the turnover of economics professors early in their careers. He found professors are more likely to move down from higher ranked schools than up from lower ranked schools. An asymmetric information model suggests this phenomenon is explained by imperfect screening at one’s initial hiring. A smaller fraction of more able individuals and more accurate screening imply a greater chance downward movement exceeds movement up. Key Words:
    Date: 2011

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