nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2023‒06‒19
seven papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Do conflict of interests disclosures work? Evidence from citations in medical journals By Leuz, Christian; Malani, Anup; Muhn, Maximilian; Jakab, László
  2. Selective Reporting of Placebo Tests in Top Economics Journals By Dreber, Anna; Johannesson, Magnus; Yang, Yifan
  3. Academic Mentoring Nature-Nurture Cycle: Some Insights from Own Experience By Evans Osabuohien; Alhassan A-W Karakara
  4. Are Researchers Penalized for Free Speech? By Gulati, Kris; Palladini, Lorenzo
  5. The Long-Term Causal Effects of Winning an ERC Grant By Ghirelli, Corinna; Havari, Enkelejda; Meroni, Elena Claudia; Verzillo, Stefano
  6. Vers un modèle éthique de publication scientifique : comment atteindre cet horizon ? By Thomas Guillemaud
  7. Who are Central Banks? Gender, Human Resources, and Central Banking By Mariarosaria Comunale; Petra de Bruxelles; Ms. Kalpana Kochhar; Juliette Raskauskas; Ms. Filiz D Unsal

  1. By: Leuz, Christian; Malani, Anup; Muhn, Maximilian; Jakab, László
    Abstract: Financial ties between drug companies and medical researchers are thought to bias results published in medical journals. To enable readers to account for such bias, most medical journals require authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest. For such policies to be effective, conflict disclosure must modify readers' beliefs. We therefore examine whether disclosure of financial ties with industry reduces article citations, indicating a discount. A challenge to estimating this effect is selection as drug companies may seek out higher quality authors as consultants or fund their studies, generating a positive correlation between disclosed conflicts and citations. Our analysis confirms this positive association. Including observable controls for article and author quality attenuates but does not eliminate this relation. To tease out whether other researchers discount articles with conflicts, we perform three tests. First, we show that the positive association is weaker for review articles, which are more susceptible to bias. Second, we examine article recommendations to family physicians by medical experts, who choose from articles that are a priori more homogenous in quality. Here, we find a significantly negative association between disclosure and expert recommendations, consistent with discounting. Third, we conduct an analysis within author and article, exploiting journal policy changes that result in conflict disclosure by an author. We examine the effect of this disclosure on citations to a previously published article by the same author. This analysis reveals a negative citation effect. Overall, we find evidence that disclosures negatively affect citations, consistent with the notion that other researchers discount articles with disclosed conflicts.
    Keywords: Financial interests, Bias in medical research, Research and development, Disclosure regulation, Transparency
    JEL: D83 D84 G18 K20 L51 M40 O31
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Dreber, Anna; Johannesson, Magnus; Yang, Yifan
    Abstract: Placebo tests, where a null result is used to support the validity of the research design, is common in economics. Such tests provide an incentive to underreport statistically significant tests, a form of reversed p-hacking. Based on a pre-registered analysis plan, we test for such underreporting in all papers meeting our inclusion criteria (n=377) published in 11 top economics journals between 2009-2021. If the null hypothesis is true in all tests, 2.5% of them should be statistically significant at the 5% level with an effect in the same direction as the main test (and 5% in total). The actual fraction of statistically significant placebo tests with an effect in the same direction is 1.29% (95% CI [0.83, 1.63]), and the overall fraction of statistically significant placebo tests is 3.10% (95% CI [2.2, 4.0]). Our results provide strong evidence of selective underreporting of statistically significant placebo tests in top economics journals.
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Evans Osabuohien (Covenant University, Nigeria); Alhassan A-W Karakara (Covenant University, Nigeria)
    Abstract: In this little article, we discuss our experience and relationship as a mentor (Evans Osabuohien) and mentee (Alhassan Karakara) and useful insights gained over the mentorship period of five years. This becomes essential following various discussions we have had at different academic for a notably conferences, seminars, and workshops. The discourse is mainly focused on the areas of conducting research, scholarly publication, and administering research grants. We underscore three points to help mentors and mentees to establish a good working relationship in the mentoring process drawing from our experience as social scientists, which would also be applicable in other disciplines.
    Keywords: Academic research mentoring, Academic publication mentoring, Research grant mentoring
    Date: 2023–01
  4. By: Gulati, Kris; Palladini, Lorenzo
    Abstract: How free is freedom of speech in academia? In recent years, there has been a growing concern that academics may be suppressing some of their beliefs for fear of adverse outcomes on their careers. By analyzing a unique data set of US researchers across various fields from 2000 to 2021, we present the first evidence of a citation penalty faced by researchers who gain media coverage for expressing their opinion on divisive topics. Employing a staggered difference-in-differences methodology, we observe that the work of academics involved in free speech incidents is less likely to be cited compared to journal articles of other scholars with comparable quality and characteristics. Thus, this study sheds light on the reality of academic free speech, which plays a fundamental role in politics, society, and innovation.
    Date: 2023–05–07
  5. By: Ghirelli, Corinna (Bank of Spain); Havari, Enkelejda (IÉSEG School of Management); Meroni, Elena Claudia (European Commission, Joint Research Centre); Verzillo, Stefano (European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term causal effects of receiving an ERC grant on researcher productivity, excellence and the ability to obtain additional research funding up to nine years after grant assignment. We use data on the universe of ERC applicants between 2007-2013 and information on their complete publication histories from the Scopus database. For identification, we first exploit the assignment rule based on rankings, comparing the outcomes of the winning and non-winning applicants in a regression discontinuity design (RDD). We fail to find any statistically significant effect on research productivity and quality, which suggests that receiving an ERC grant does not make a difference in terms of scientific impact for researchers with a ranking position close enough to the threshold. Since RDDs help identify a local effect, we also conduct a difference-in-differences (DID) analysis using the time series of bibliometric indicators available, which allows us to estimate the effect on a wider population of winning and non-winning applicants. Differently from the RDD results, DID estimates show that obtaining an ERC grant leads to positive long-term effects on scientific productivity, impact and the capacity to attract other EU funds in the fields of Chemistry, Universe and Earth Sciences, Institutions and Behaviours, Human Mind Studies and Medicine. Further analysis of heterogeneous effects leads us conclude that the positive results obtained with DID seem to be driven by the top-ranked applicants in these fields.
    Keywords: research grants, ERC, regression discontinuity design, difference in differences, EU funds, policy evaluation
    JEL: I23 D04 O3
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Thomas Guillemaud (ISA - Institut Sophia Agrobiotech - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (1965 - 2019) - COMUE UCA - COMUE Université Côte d'Azur (2015-2019) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur)
    Abstract: Le modèle actuel de publication scientifique génère d'importants questionnements éthiques. Aujourd'hui, quelques grands conglomérats de maisons d'édition à but lucratif contrôlent plus de 50 % de tous les articles en sciences naturelles et en sciences sociales. Cette domination leur permet d'augmenter les frais d'abonnement et de publication en libre accès à des niveaux difficilement soutenables par les universités, bibliothèques et institutions de recherche financées par des fonds publics dans le monde entier. Les bénéfices des actionnaires de ces maisons d'édition atteignent environ un tiers de leur chiffre d'affaire. Par ailleurs, environ la moitié des frais de publications sont simplement destinés au fonctionnement du système-lobbying, marketing, et gestion des systèmes de "paywall" qui restreignent l'accès des résultats scientifiques au public et aux autres chercheur•es. Ainsi, les fonds publics destinés à la science sont en fait détournés de celle-ci et même utilisés pour en limiter l'accès. Des alternatives à ce modèle existent et ont gagné en popularité ces dernières années, notamment les revues scientifiques en accès libre diamant ("diamond open access journals") et les plateformes gérées collectivement et dédiées à l'évaluation, la validation et la recommandation d'articles par les communautés de chercheur•es. Ces alternatives sont gratuites pour les auteur•es et minimisent les coûts de publication pour les institutions et les agences de financement, tout en mettant à disposition du public les résultats scientifiques évalués par les pairs. Cependant, le modèle de publication axé sur les revues de type commercial a rendu le changement difficile. Les pratiques de paiement de redevances par les chercheur•es pour publier leurs articles en libre accès ont contribué à établir des échelles de valeur basées sur le nom et le prestige des revues qui empêchent une transition collective, efficace et exempte d'une logique de profit. Nous donnons ici un bref aperçu de l'état actuel du système de publication scientifique, y compris ses problèmes systémiques les plus importants. Nous présentons ensuite des systèmes alternatifs. Nous expliquons les raisons pour lesquelles la transition vers ces systèmes peut être perçue comme coûteuse pour les chercheur•es et nous démystifions un certain nombre d'obstacles au changement fréquemment mis en avant. Enfin, au vu de ce qui précède, nous fournissons un ensemble de recommandations et de lignes directrices que les chercheur•es de tous niveaux peuvent mettre en oeuvre afin de permettre une transition plus rapide et plus efficace vers un modèle de publication scientifique éthique.
    Keywords: academic publishing, journal, open-access, peer-review, ethics, collective action, recommendation model
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Mariarosaria Comunale; Petra de Bruxelles; Ms. Kalpana Kochhar; Juliette Raskauskas; Ms. Filiz D Unsal
    Abstract: Central banks, as the epitome of the economics profession and the main paragon of public institutions, can reveal key insights into gender patterns. We create a novel multidimensional survey directed at eight central banks in advanced economies (G7 national central banks and the European Central Bank), covering several aspects of gender, such as women’s participation at different seniority levels, employment trends, and human resources practices. These elements are summarized in a new comprehensive index of gender equality—Human Resources Gender Index (HRGI). We show that these central banks have room for improvement in the inclusion of women in economics professions, managerial positions, and with full time contracts. Women in central banking also face a gender pay gap. In comparison, International Financial Institutions (the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) perform better in terms of gender equality. The HRGI index, hiring and promotion of women, and their contract types are associated with output and credit gaps, thus being of macro-critical importance. In return, some country characteristics can be related to gender equality, such as women in high-level positions, government effectiveness, and corruption.
    Keywords: Central banks; gender; human resources; inequality
    Date: 2023–05–05

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