nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2012‒12‒22
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Matthew: Effect or Fable? By Pierre Azoulay; Toby Stuart; Yanbo Wang
  2. How Should Peer-Review Panels Behave? By Sgroi, Daniel; Oswald, Andrew J.
  3. Multiplicative and fractional strategies when journals are assigned to several subfields. By Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier [jrc]

  1. By: Pierre Azoulay; Toby Stuart; Yanbo Wang
    Abstract: In a market context, a status effect occurs when actors are accorded differential recognition for their efforts depending on their location in a status ordering, holding constant the quality of these efforts. In practice, because it is very difficult to measure quality, this ceteris paribus proviso often precludes convincing empirical assessments of the magnitude of status effects. We address this problem by examining the impact of a major status-conferring prize that shifts actors’ positions in a prestige ordering. Specifically, using a precisely constructed matched sample, we estimate the effect of a scientist becoming a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator (HHMI) on citations to articles the scientist published before the prize was awarded. We do find evidence of a post-appointment citation boost, but the effect is small and limited to a short window of time. Consistent with theories of status, however, the effect of the prize is significantly larger when there is uncertainty about article quality, and when prize-winners are of (relatively) low status at the time of election to HHMI.
    JEL: O31 O33
    Date: 2012–12
  2. By: Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Many governments wish to assess the quality of their universities. A prominent example is the UK's new Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. In the REF, peer-review panels will be provided with information on publications and citations. This paper suggests a way in which panels could choose the weights to attach to these two indicators. The analysis draws in an intuitive way on the concept of Bayesian updating (where citations gradually reveal information about the initially imperfectly-observed importance of the research). Our study should not be interpreted as the argument that only mechanistic measures ought to be used in a REF.
    Keywords: university evaluation, RAE Research Assessment Exercise 2008, citations, bibliometrics, REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework), Bayesian methods
    JEL: I23 C11 O30
    Date: 2012–11
  3. By: Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier [jrc]
    Abstract: In many data sets, articles are classified into subfields through the journals in which they have been published. The problem is that while many journals are assigned to a single subfield, many others are assigned to several. This article discusses a multiplicative and a fractional strategy to deal with this situation. The empirical part studies different aspects of citation distributions under the two strategies, namely: the number of articles, the mean citation rate, the broad shape of the distribution, their characterization in terms of size- and scale-invariant indicators of high and low impact, and the presence of extreme distributions, that is, distributions that behave very differently from the rest. We found that, despite large differences in the number of articles according to both strategies, the similarity of the citation characteristics of articles published in journals assigned to one or several subfields guarantees that choosing one of the two strategies may not lead to a radically different picture in practical applications. Nevertheless, the characterization of citation excellence through a high-impact indicator may considerably differ depending on that choice
    Date: 2012–11

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