nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2019‒12‒02
six papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Publishing and Promotion in Economics: The Tyranny of the Top Five By James J. Heckman; Sidharth Moktan
  2. The Focus of Academic Economics: Before and After the Crisis By Ernest Aigner; Matthias Aistleitner; Florentin Glotzl; Jakob Kapeller
  3. Citation Patterns in Economics and Beyond By Matthias Aistleitner; Jakob Kapeller; Stefan Steinerberger
  4. Money for Something: Braided Funding and the Structure and Output of Research Groups By Funk, Russell J.; Glennon, Britta; Lane, Julia; Murciano-Goroff, Raviv; Ross, Matthew B.
  5. Writing Research Articles for Publication By Ngo-Hoang, Dai-Long
  6. Divided we stand? Professional consensus and political conflict in academic economics By Beyer, Karl M.; Pühringer, Stephan

  1. By: James J. Heckman (University of Chicago); Sidharth Moktan (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between placement of publications in Top Five (T5) journals and receipt of tenure in academic economics departments. Analyzing the job histories of tenure-track economists hired by the top 35 U.S. economics departments, we find that T5 publications have a powerful influence on tenure decisions and rates of transition to tenure. A survey of the perceptions of young economists supports the formal statistical analysis. Pursuit of T5 publications has become the obsession of the next generation of economists. However, the T5 screen is far from reliable. A substantial share of influential publications appears in non-T5 outlets. Reliance on the T5 to screen talent incentivizes careerism over creativity.
    Keywords: tenure and promotion practices, career concerns, economics publishing, citations
    JEL: A14 I23 J44 O31
    Date: 2018–09
  2. By: Ernest Aigner (Vienna University of Economics and Business); Matthias Aistleitner (Johannes Kepler University); Florentin Glotzl (Vienna University of Economics and Business); Jakob Kapeller (Johannes Kepler University)
    Abstract: Has the global financial crisis of 2007ff had a visible impact on the economics profession? To answer this question we employ a bibliometric approach and compare the content and orientation of economic literature before and after the crisis with reference to two different samples: A large-scale sample consisting of more than 440,000 articles published between 1956 and 2016 and a smaller sample of 400 top-cited papers before and after the crisis. Our results suggest that unlike the Great Depression of the 1930s the current financial crisis did not lead to any major theoretical or methodological changes in contemporary economics, although the topic of financial instability received increased attention after the crisis.
    Keywords: crisis, economics profession, economic journals, keyword analysis, paradigmatic development
    JEL: A14 B20 B26 G01 N00 N01
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Matthias Aistleitner (Johannes Kepler University); Jakob Kapeller (Johannes Kepler University); Stefan Steinerberger (Yale University, Department of Mathematics)
    Abstract: In this paper we comparatively explore three claims concerning the disciplinary character of economics by means of citation analysis. The three claims under study are: (1) economics exhibits strong forms of institutional stratification and, as a byproduct, a rather pronounced internal hierarchy, (2) economists strongly conform to institutional incentives and (3) modern mainstream economics is a largely self-referential intellectual project mostly inaccessible to disciplinary or paradigmatic outsiders. The validity of these claims is assessed by means of an interdisciplinary comparison of citation patterns aiming to identify peculiar characteristics of economic discourse. In doing so, we emphasize that citation data can always be interpreted in different ways, thereby focusing on the contrast between a `cognitive` and an `evaluative` approach towards citation data.
    Keywords: citation patterns, economics, interdisciplinary, scientometrics, sociology of economics
    JEL: A10 A12 A14
    Date: 2018–11
  4. By: Funk, Russell J. (University of Minnesota); Glennon, Britta (University of Pennsylvania); Lane, Julia (New York University); Murciano-Goroff, Raviv (Boston University); Ross, Matthew B. (New York University)
    Abstract: In 2017, the federal government invested over $40 billion on university research; another $16 billion came from private sector sources. The expectation is that these investments will bear varied fruits, including outputs like more economic growth, more scientific advances, the training and development of future scientists, and a more diverse pipeline of STEM researchers; an expectation that is supported by the work of recent Nobel Laureate in Economics, Paul Romer. Yet volatility in federal funding, highlighted by a 35 day federal shutdown in early 2019, has resulted in an increased interest on the part of scientists in finding other sources of funding. Understanding the effect of such different funding streams on research outputs is thus of more than academic importance, particularly because there are likely to be tradeoffs, both in terms of the structure of research and in terms of research outputs. For example, federal funding is often intended to affect the structure of research, with explicit goals of training the next generation of scientists and promoting diversity; those goals are less salient for non-federal funding. On the output side, federally funded research may be more likely to emphasize producing purely scientific outputs, like publications, rather than commercial outputs, like patents. The contribution of this paper is to use new data to examine how different sources of financial support – which we refer to as "braided" funding – affect both the structure of scientific research and the subsequent outputs.
    Keywords: UMETRICS, team science, research impact, science policy, research outputs
    JEL: O3 M5 H1
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Ngo-Hoang, Dai-Long
    Abstract: ‘Ethics’ is a branch of philosophy which examines the concepts of right and wrong. A journal will likely refuse to publish research, or writing, which they feel are not to an acceptable ethical standard. Ethics in science publishing refers to both the experiment and the written account. In terms of the experiment, publishers want to know that the researcher did not mistreat animals or human beings during the course of the study. Further to this, the writing is expected to be a truthful and honest account of the experiment. Finally, authors are expected to uphold a high standard of ethics by abstaining from any form of plagiarism. Interestingly, the United States National Academies begins their third edition of On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research with the statement, “The scientific enterprise is built on a foundation of trust” (2009). Not factual information, but trust that the information is indeed factual.
    Date: 2019–04–30
  6. By: Beyer, Karl M.; Pühringer, Stephan
    Abstract: In this paper we address the issue of the role of ideology and political preferences of publically engaged economists and contribute to the debate on consensus in economics. To do so, we conduct a social network analysis on the signatories of economist petitions, which we identify as one channel for economists to exert public influence. We base our analysis on 77 public policy petitions and presidential anti-/endorsement letters from 2008-2017 in the United States with more than 6,400 signatories and check the robustness of our results with six sub-networks. Our contribution is twofold: On the one hand we provide an extended empirical basis for the debate on consensus in economics and the role of politics and ideology in economics. On the other hand we provide a viable tool to trace the ideological leaning of (prospective) economist petitions and economists based on the social structure of petition networks.
    Keywords: social network analysis,sociology of economics,consensus,public economists,economist petitions,United States
    JEL: A11 A13 A14 B20 B30 D04 E66 G18 I38 P16
    Date: 2019

This nep-sog issue is ©2019 by Jonas Holmström. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.