nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2012‒05‒29
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Piecework versus merit pay: a Mean Fi eld Game approach to academic behavior By Damien Besancenot; Jean-Michel Courtault; Khaled El Dika
  2. How do Academics adopt new practices during a reform ? The Evolution of doctoral education in France 1992-2009. By Vincent Mangematin
  3. Collective attention and ranking methods By Gabrielle Demange

  1. By: Damien Besancenot (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - Université Paris XIII - Paris Nord - CNRS : UMR7234); Jean-Michel Courtault (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - Université Paris XIII - Paris Nord - CNRS : UMR7234); Khaled El Dika (LAGA - Laboratoire d'Analyse, Géométrie et Applications - CNRS : UMR7539 - Université Paris XIII - Paris Nord - Université Paris VIII - Vincennes Saint-Denis)
    Abstract: This paper applies the Mean Fi eld Game approach pioneered by Lasry and Lions (2007) to the analysis of the researchers' academic productivity. It provides a theoretical motivation for the stability of the universaly observed Lotka's law. It shows that a remuneration scheme taking into account the researchers rank with respect to the academic resume can induce a larger number of researchers to overtake a minimal production standard. It thus appears as superior to piecework remuneration.
    Keywords: Mean Field Game, Academic production, incentives, Lotka's law.
    Date: 2011–10–13
  2. By: Vincent Mangematin (MTS - Management Technologique et Strategique - Grenoble École de Management (GEM))
    Abstract: How have reforms in French doctoral education and academic research been implemented? How do changing doctoral education practices lead to changing research practices? New practice adoption among academics usually happens incrementally in the course of their everyday activity. Top-down organizational change requires these autonomous professionals to adopt new practices willingly, so as to comply with the reform. Understanding the microlevel conditions under which this adoption happens is critical to the management of change in universities and research organizations. Drawing on the empirical analysis of a reform seeking to improve PhD supervision in French universities, we find that academics adopt new practices only once they have performed a cognitive reframing of the situation, and under the condition that new practices are - or can be made - compatible with their autonomy of judgment and their extant professional role and identity. Otherwise, the reform leads to ceremonial adoption, hesitation or rejection of new practice. Paradoxically, coercive features of the reform may support new practice adoption, but only when they are taken over by professionals themselves and support them in the building of a leader figure compatible with professional values.
    Keywords: University policy; Science policy, Change implementation; Practice adoption; PhD, Research Practices
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Gabrielle Demange (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - INRA, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: In a world with a tremendous amount of choices, ranking systems are becoming increasingly important in helping individuals to find information relevant to them. As such, rankings play a crucial role of influencing the attention that is devoted to the various alternatives. This role generates a feedback when the ranking is based on citations, as is the case for PageRank used by Google. The attention bias due to published rankings affects new stated opinions (citations), which will, in turn, affect the next ranking. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this feedback by studying some simple but reasonable dynamics. We show that the long run behavior of the process much depends on the preferences, in particular on their diversity, and on the used ranking method. Two main families of methods are investigated, one based on the notion of 'handicaps', the other one on the notion of peers' rankings.
    Keywords: Ranking ; Scoring ; Invariant method ; Peers' method ; Attention ; Handicap ; Scaling matrix ; Dynamics through influence
    Date: 2012–05

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