nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2019‒12‒09
five papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. The transformation of economic analysis at the Federal Reserve during the 1960s By Acosta, Juan; Cherrier, Beatrice
  2. The Awkarin Index: a Measure of Asymmetry Between a Scholar’s Social Media Profile and Publication By Azalea, Fariha; Setiawan, Adib Rifqi
  3. Who Said or What Said? Estimating Ideological Bias in Views Among Economists By Javdani, Mohsen; Chang, Ha-Joon
  4. Predatory Publications in Scopus: Evidence on Cross-Country Differences By Vit Machacek; Martin Srholec
  5. Arbitrariness in the Peer Review Process By Elise S. Brezis; Aliaksandr Birukou

  1. By: Acosta, Juan; Cherrier, Beatrice
    Abstract: In this paper, we build on data on Fed officials, oral history repositories and hitherto under-researched archival sources to unpack the torturous path toward crafting an institutional and intellectual space for postwar economic analysis within the Fed. We show that growing attention to new macroeconomic research was a reaction to both mounting external criticisms against the Fed’s decision-making process and a process internal to the discipline whereby institutionalism was displaced by neoclassical theory and econometrics. We argue that the rise of the number of PhD economists working at the Fed is a symptom rather than a cause of this transformation. Key to our story are a handful of economists from the Board of Governor’s Division of Research and Statistics (DRS) who paradoxically did not always held a PhD, but envisioned their role as going beyond mere data accumulation and got involved into large-scale macroeconometric model building. We conclude that the divide between PhD and non-PhD economists may not be fully relevant to understand both the shift in the type of economics practiced at the Fed and the uses of this knowledge in the decision making-process. Equally important was the rift between different styles of economic analysis.
    Date: 2018–09–30
  2. By: Azalea, Fariha; Setiawan, Adib Rifqi
    Abstract: I propose the ‘Awkarin Index’ (Λ-index), a measure of asymmetry between a scholar’s social media profile and publication record based on the direct comparison of numbers of citations and social media followers. It was because in the era of social media there are now many different ways that a scholar can build their public profile; the publication of high-quality scientific papers being just one. While social media is a valuable tool for outreach and the sharing of ideas, there is a danger that this form of communication is gaining too high a value and that we are losing sight of key metrics of scientific value, such as citation indices. This work proposes the ‘Awkarin Index’ (Λ-index) to help quantify this case.
    Date: 2019–10–15
  3. By: Javdani, Mohsen (University of British Columbia, Okanagan); Chang, Ha-Joon (University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: There exists a long-standing debate about the influence of ideology in economics. Surprisingly, however, there is no concrete empirical evidence to examine this critical issue. Using an online randomized controlled experiment involving 2425 economists in 19 countries, we examine the effect of ideological bias on views among economists. Participants were asked to evaluate statements from prominent economists on different topics, while source attribution for each statement was randomized without participants' knowledge. For each statement, participants either received a mainstream source, an ideologically different less-/non-mainstream source, or no source. We find that changing source attributions from mainstream to less-/non-mainstream, or removing them, significantly reduces economists' reported agreement with statements. This contradicts the image economists have of themselves, with 82% of participants reporting that in evaluating a statement one should only pay attention to its content. Using a framework of Bayesian updating we examine two competing hypotheses as potential explanations for these results: unbiased Bayesian updating versus ideologically-/authority-biased Bayesian updating. While we find no evidence in support of unbiased updating, our results are consistent with biased Bayesian updating. More specifically, we find that changing/removing sources (1) has no impact on economists' reported confidence with their evaluations; (2) similarly affects experts/non-experts in relevant areas; and (3) has substantially different impacts on economists with different political orientations. Finally, we find significant heterogeneity in our results by gender, country, PhD completion country, research area, and undergraduate major, with patterns consistent with the existence of ideological bias.
    Keywords: ideology, ideological bias, authority bias, Bayesian updating, views among economists
    JEL: A11 A14
    Date: 2019–10
  4. By: Vit Machacek (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Opletalova 26, 110 00, Prague, Czech Republic; CERGE-EI, a joint workplace of Charles University and the Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Politickych veznu 7, Prague 1, 111 21, Prague, Czech Republic); Martin Srholec (CERGE-EI, a joint workplace of Charles University and the Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Politickych veznu 7, Prague 1, 111 21, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: The paper maps the infiltration of so-called "predatory" scholarly journals into the citation database Scopus. Using the names of "potential, possible, or probable" predatory journals and publishers on Beall's lists, we derived ISSNs of the respective journals from Ulrichsweb and searched Scopus with it. A total of 324 matched journals with 164 thousand documents indexed in Scopus over 2015-2017, making up a share of 2.8 % of the total articles have been identified. An analysis of cross-country differences in the tendency to publish in these journals reveals that overall the most affected are middle-income countries in Asia and North Africa. Kazakhstan is the country with the largest tendency to publish in predatory journals (18 %). More than 5 % is reported in 20 countries, including large countries such as Indonesia (18 %), Malaysia (11 %), India (10 %), or Nigeria (7 %). Neither developed countries are resistant to predatory publishing. More than 16 000 “potentially predatory†articles were published by authors from United States (0.67 %).
    Keywords: Predatory journals, Beall’s list, open access, academic misconduct
    JEL: I28 I29 O38
    Date: 2019–07
  5. By: Elise S. Brezis (Bar-Ilan University); Aliaksandr Birukou
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the causes and effects of arbitrariness in the peer review process. This paper focuses on two main reasons for the arbitrariness in peer review. The first is that referees are not homogenous and display homophily in their taste and perception of innovative ideas. The second element is that reviewers are different in the time they allocate for peer review. Our model replicates the NIPS experiment of 2014, showing that the ratings of peer review are not robust, and that altering reviewers leads to a dramatic impact on the ranking of the papers. This paper also shows that innovative works are not highly ranked in the existing peer review process, and in consequence are often rejected.
    Keywords: arbitrariness, homophily, peer review, innovation
    JEL: D73 G01 G18 L51
    Date: 2019–08

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