nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2014‒04‒05
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The impact of public research contracts on scientific productivity By César Alonso-Borrego; Antonio Romero-Medina; Rocío Sánchez Mangas
  2. Why Stars Matter By Ajay Agrawal; John McHale; Alexander Oettl
  3. Striving for Excellence: University Competition, Quality Perceptions, and Ability Sorting By Mira Fischer; Patrick Kampkoetter

  1. By: César Alonso-Borrego; Antonio Romero-Medina; Rocío Sánchez Mangas
    Abstract: We analyze a competitive research-oriented public program established in Spain, the Ramon yCajal Program, intended to offer contracts in public research centers to high-quality researchers.We study the effects of the Program on the ex-post scientific productivity of its recipients, relativeto unsuccessful applicants with comparable curricula at the time of application. The full sampleresults demonstrate that the Program has a positive and significant effect on the scientific impactof the recipients, as measured by the average and the maximum impact factors, but the effect onthe number of published papers is not significant. Consequently, receiving a contract does notsignificantly affect the quantity, but increases the quality, of the contract recipients' publications.This result is primarily driven by the particular relevance of experimental sciences in the Program.
    Keywords: Ramon y Cajal Program, Brain Gain, Research Productivity, Government Research Programs, Human Capital, Policy Evaluation, Matching
    JEL: O38 D78 C21 I23 O31
    Date: 2014–05
  2. By: Ajay Agrawal; John McHale; Alexander Oettl
    Abstract: The growing peer effects literature pays particular attention to the role of stars. We decompose the causal effect of hiring a star in terms of the productivity impact on: 1) co-located incumbents and 2) new recruits. Using longitudinal university department-level data we report that hiring a star does not increase overall incumbent productivity, although this aggregate effect hides offsetting effects on related (positive) versus unrelated (negative) colleagues. However, the primary impact comes from an increase in the average quality of subsequent recruits. This is most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions, suggesting implications for the socially optimal spatial organization of talent.
    JEL: I23 J24 O31
    Date: 2014–03
  3. By: Mira Fischer (University of Cologne); Patrick Kampkoetter (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: We study the effects of a label awarded to universities for excellence in research on students' perception of educational quality and enrolment in subsequent admission terms. Using a representative student survey we find that students evaluate the teaching and supervision quality of their institution better immediately after it was labelled "excellent". Furthermore, the award of the excellence label allow universities to enrol better high school graduates in subsequent admission terms, with economics students showing the strongest response. Our results provide evidence that students use the label as a signal for educational quality that affects application decisions and reinforces ability sorting between universities, a side-effect of a policy designed to raise efficiency of universities.
    Keywords: higher education, university choice, student evaluations, labelling effect
    JEL: I23 D80 H52
    Date: 2014–03–22

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