nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2016‒02‒04
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. JEL Codes: What Do They Mean and Are They Used Consistently? By Lea Kosnik
  2. What is Happening to our Universities? By Ben Martin

  1. By: Lea Kosnik (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
    Abstract: The use and prevalence of JEL code categorization is wide in the field of economics, but what do JEL code classifications actually tell us? And are they used with consistency by academics in the field? Utilizing a dataset of articles published in the American Economic Review from 1990-2008, we investigate whether there is heterogeneity in JEL codes assignments between authors and editors. We find that there is. A secondary goal of this paper is to explore overall thematic trends in JEL code usage over the past four and a half decades. One result is that JEL category M: Business Economics, in particular, appears to be thematically and spatially distinct from much of the rest of the published literature in the top general interest journals in the field.
    Keywords: text analysis, JEL code, economics research, economics literature, thematic analysis.
    JEL: A1 B0
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Ben Martin (SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, UK)
    Abstract: In recent decades, many universities have been moving in the direction of a more hierarchical and centralised structure, with top-down planning and reduced local autonomy for departments. Yet the management literature over this period has stressed the numerous benefits of flatter organisational structures, decentralisation and local autonomy for sections or departments. What might explain this paradox? And why have academics remained strangely quiet about this, meekly accepting their fate? The paper critically examines the dangers of centralised top-down management, increasingly bureaucratic procedures, teaching to a prescribed formula, and research driven by assessment and performance targets, illustrating these with a number of specific examples. It discusses a number of possible driving forces of these worrying developments, and concludes by asking whether academics may be in danger of suffering the fate of the boiled frog.
    Keywords: universities; managerialism; bureaucracy; assessment; performance indicators; audit culture; boiled frog
    Date: 2016–03

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