nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Researching the Research: A Central Banking Edition By Simona Malovana; Martin Hodula; Zuzana Rakovska
  2. Star Wars at Central Banks By Adam Gorajek; Joel Bank; Andrew Staib; Benjamin Malin; Hamish Fitchett
  3. The Economist as Scientist, Engineer or Plumber? By Su, Huei-Chun; Colander, David; Assistant, JHET

  1. By: Simona Malovana; Martin Hodula; Zuzana Rakovska
    Abstract: We build two unique data sets describing research in central banks in Europe and the United States. These data sets offer a novel insight into central banks' research activities, the research topics covered, collaborations between central banks and with other institutions, gender diversity and research popularization, among other things. We identify significant heterogeneity among central banks from different regions. Nevertheless, we are also able to identify several important stylized facts. First, following the Global Financial Crisis, financial stability surpassed monetary policy as the leading research topic. Second, we document a substantial decline in papers with single authors, from 40% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2019. Still, research in central banks is highly concentrated, as the top 10% of authors contribute to about 50% of all central banks' research publications. Third, while central banks form enormous research networks, we find that most of this research collaboration is region-specific. Fourth, we document an increasing representation of women in research teams, but the gender gap persists and is closing only slowly. In this respect, small central banks are found to employ more female researchers than large ones. Fifth, major central banks with a well-established research tradition achieve the highest average impact factor, with a few research papers contributing the most to this average.
    Keywords: Central banking, collaboration, gender diversity, impact factor, network analysis, research, topic analysis
    JEL: A1 A3 D85 E58 O31
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Adam Gorajek (Reserve Bank of Australia); Joel Bank (Reserve Bank of Australia); Andrew Staib (School of Economics, University of New South Wales); Benjamin Malin (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis); Hamish Fitchett (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)
    Abstract: We investigate the credibility of central bank research by searching for traces of researcher bias, which is a tendency to use undisclosed analytical procedures that raise measured levels of statistical significance (stars) in artificial ways. To conduct our search, we compile a new dataset and borrow 2 bias-detection methods from the literature: the p-curve and z-curve. The results are mixed. The p-curve shows no traces of researcher bias but has a propensity to produce false negatives. The z-curve shows some traces of researcher bias but requires strong assumptions. We examine those assumptions and challenge their merit. At this point, all that is clear is that central banks produce results with patterns different from those in top economic journals, there being less bunching around the 5 per cent threshold of statistical significance.
    Keywords: researcher bias; central banks
    JEL: A11 C13 E58
    Date: 2021–02
  3. By: Su, Huei-Chun; Colander, David; Assistant, JHET
    Abstract: Some well-known economists suggest that a good economist should act like an engineer, a surgeon, a dentist, or even a plumber. These metaphors are useful in helping economists reflect the nature of economics and their role in society. But which is the most sensible one? This paper argues that economists should be playing all these roles and more, because economics is not a single entity, and each entity has separate goals, methods, and boundaries. To take this multiplicity of roles into account this paper argues that in addition to the traditional boundary that delineates the disciplinary domain of economics against other sciences, an overarching boundary between economic science and applied policy needs to be recognized. It then examines Duflo’s economist as plumber metaphor and suggests that a better metaphor for Duflo’s purpose would be “general contractor”, a metaphor that, if accepted, would suggest radical change in training applied policy economists.
    Date: 2021–02–12

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