nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2020‒03‒23
four papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. A New Mechanism to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science-With An Application to the Public Goods Game By Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie-Claire Villeval
  2. Who are the economists Germany listens to? By Stephan Puehringer; Karl Beyer
  3. Profiling giants: The networks and influence of Buchanan and Tullock By Etienne Farvaque; Frédéric Gannon
  4. Administrative Discretion in Scientific Funding: Evidence from a Prestigious Postdoctoral Training Program By Donna K. Ginther; Misty L. Heggeness

  1. By: Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie-Claire Villeval
    Abstract: Creation of empirical knowledge in economics has taken a dramatic turn in the past few decades. One feature of the new research landscape is the nature and extent to which scholars generate data. Today, in nearly every field the experimental approach plays an increasingly crucial role in testing theories and informing organizational decisions. Whereas there is much to appreciate about this revolution, recently a credibility crisis has taken hold across the social sciences, arguing that an important component of Fischer (1935)'s tripod has not been fully embraced: replication. Indeed, while the importance of replications is not debatable scientifically, current incentives are not sufficient to encourage replications from the individual researcher's perspective. We analyze a novel mechanism that promotes replications by leveraging mutually beneficial gains between scholars and editors. We develop a model capturing the trade-offs involved in seeking independent replications before submission of a paper to journals. We demonstrate the operation of this method via an investigation of the effects of Knightian uncertainty on cooperation rates in public goods games, a pervasive and yet largely unexplored feature in the literature.
    JEL: A11 C18 C92 C93 D82
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: Stephan Puehringer (Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); Karl Beyer (Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria)
    Abstract: Building on recent work on the political and societal impact of economics and distinct economists, respectively, this chapter aims to examine individual, research and institutional characteristics as well as existing professional networks of what are considered to be “influential economists†in Germany. For the purpose of identifying the most influential economists, we make use of the popular impact ranking of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) entitled “The economists, Germany listens to†(“Auf diese Ökonomen hört das Land†), which distinguishes research, media and political impact. Through biographical research and the application of social network analysis we show that most influential economists are involved in co-authorship and/or institutional networks and that there are substantial connections to different levels of public governance. We find a tremendous gender bias within the sample as well as some hints for internationalization and division of labor. Our analysis moreover indicates a much less hierarchical structure of the German-speaking economics profession when compared to the U.S. A breakdown also reveals some considerable differences between the different impact rankings. We find that while a striking majority of media and policy advice economists have connections to (inter)national public governance bodies, only a minority of research economists have. Furthermore, the ordoliberal bias, which is a crucial feature of the German economics profession, is mainly restricted to media and policy advice economists. Finally, our analysis indicates the central role of (partly also geographically organized) research hubs among influential research economists.
    Keywords: political and societal impact of economists, German economics, socio-economics, professional networks, social network analysis, biographical research, co-authorship, power in economics
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Etienne Farvaque (LEM - Lille économie management - LEM - UMR 9221 - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - Université de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Frédéric Gannon (EDEHN - Equipe d'Economie Le Havre Normandie - ULH - Université Le Havre Normandie - NU - Normandie Université)
    Abstract: This paper uses network analysis to measure the positions and influences of two prominent academics, James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, founders of public choice theory. First, we recount parallel accounts of their lives. Second, we provide a literature review and outline the standard centrality measures insisting on their relevance in assessing the two authors' roles in a given network. Third, we analyze their respective influences through the lens of network analysis by providing details on the publication records and, overall, co-authorship networks of the two scholars. We also explore their academic genealogy and show in particular that (i) Buchanan and Tullock's careers followed parallel paths and co-founded public choice theory and the journal of the same name, although the two had few common works; (ii) though being apparently very similar as to their centrality in the co-authoring network under scrutiny, their ego-networks were structured very differently, revealing diverse positions in the field and, thus, different influences on the discipline.
    Keywords: Buchanan,Tullock,Networks,Co-authorship,Dissertation students,Influence,Public Choice JEL Classification: A14,D85,I23
    Date: 2020–02–11
  4. By: Donna K. Ginther; Misty L. Heggeness
    Abstract: The scientific community is engaged in an active debate on the value of its peer-review system. Does peer review actually serve the role we envision for it—that of helping government agencies predict what ideas have the best chance of contributing to scientific advancement? Many federal agencies use a two-step review process that includes programmatic discretion in selecting awards. This process allows us to determine whether success in a future independent scientific-research career is more accurately predicted by peer-review recommendations or discretion by program staff and institute leaders. Using data from a prestigious training program at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA), we provide evidence on the efficacy of peer review. We find that, despite all current claims to the contrary, the existing peer-review system works as intended. It more closely predicts high-quality science and future research independence than discretion. We discover also that regression discontinuity, the econometric method typically used to examine the effect of scientific funding, does not fit many scientific-funding models and should only be used with caution when studying federal awards for science.
    JEL: J24 O3 O38
    Date: 2020–03

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