nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒17
seven papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Unveiling Specialization Trends in Economics Research: A Large-Scale Study Using Natural Language Processing and Citation Analysis By Sebastian Galiani; Ramiro H. Gálvez; Ian Nachman
  2. Creating and Connecting US and China Science: Chinese Diaspora and Returnee Researchers By Qingnan Xie; Richard B. Freeman
  3. Cassatts in the Attic By Marlène Koffi; Matt Marx
  4. Twitter and Citations By Ho Fai Chan; Ali Sina Önder; Sascha Schweitzer; Benno Torgler
  5. A framework for evaluating reproducibility and replicability in economics By Dreber, Anna; Johannesson, Magnus
  6. A journal editor once told us authors By Robinson, Jonny
  7. Reproducibility and Transparency versus Privacy and Confidentiality: Reflections from a Data Editor By Lars Vilhuber

  1. By: Sebastian Galiani; Ramiro H. Gálvez; Ian Nachman
    Abstract: This article presents a comprehensive analysis of trends in the publication and citation of economics scholarly research, with a focus on specialization within fields of economics research (i.e., applied, applied theory, econometrics methods, and theory). We collected detailed data on 24, 273 articles published from 1970 to 2016 in highly regarded general research economics journals. We then used state-of-the-art machine learning and natural language processing techniques to further enrich the collected data. Our findings reveal significant disparities in article content and citations across fields of economics research. The analysis indicates growing specialization trends in theory and econometric methods. In contrast, applied papers are covering a wider range of topics and receiving an increasing proportion of extramural citations over time. By 2016, applied ranked among the most or second most cited field by any other field of economics research. These patterns are consistent with applied papers becoming more multidisciplinary. Applied theory articles have also demonstrated a growing breadth of topics covered (similar to applied articles); however, this has not been accompanied by an increase in extramural citations or in the share of citations received from other fields of economics research (as observed with theory articles). This makes it challenging to determine their specialization status.
    JEL: A1
    Date: 2023–06
  2. By: Qingnan Xie; Richard B. Freeman
    Abstract: The close connection between US and China in scientific research and education in the 2000s produced a large group of China-born researchers who work in the US (“diaspora”) and a larger group of China-born researchers who gained US-research experience and returned to do their research in China (“returnee”). Analyzing 2018 Scopus data on research papers, we estimate that diaspora researchers contributed to 27% of US addressed papers, and that returnee researchers contributed to 38% of China addressed papers. Both the number of papers with diaspora authors and the number of papers with returnee authors far exceeded the usual measure of US-China collaborative work, papers with both US and China addresses. In terms of quality or impact, papers with diaspora or returnee authors averaged more citations and had higher proportions of publication in high CiteScore journals than other US-addressed or China-addressed papers. Finally, papers with diaspora and/or returnee authors were at the center of the US-China coauthor network and major conduits of research findings between the countries in the network of scientific citations. The benefits of the US-China research connection notwithstanding, the link between the countries’ research began to fray from 2018 through the early 2020s, with potential deleterious effects on each country’s future research output and on global science writ large to which US and China are the two biggest contributors.
    JEL: F1 F22 F63 I2 I20 J2 J20 J3 J30 O3 O30
    Date: 2023–06
  3. By: Marlène Koffi; Matt Marx
    Abstract: We analyze more than 70 million scientific articles to characterize the gender dynamics of commercializing science. The double-digit gender gap we report is explained neither by the quality of the science nor its ex-ante commercial potential, and is widest among papers with female last authors (i.e., lab heads) when publishing high-quality science. Using Pitchbook database, we show that when authors self-commercialize scientific discoveries via new ventures, no gap appears, raising the question of whether incumbent firms are unaware of—or ignore—scientific contributions by women. A natural experiment based on the Obama administration’s staggered introduction of open-access requirements for federally-funded research reveals that although easier access to scientific articles might facilitate commercialization, this benefit accrues primarily to male authors. Articles written with more “boastful” language are commercialized more often, and female scientists generally boast less, but even when they do their discoveries are commercialized no more often. We also observe gender homophily between scientific authors and commercializing inventors, the majority of whom are male. We conclude with the potential welfare effects of the gender gap: the disparity is more pronounced for higher-quality discoveries, as indicated by academic and patent citations or by predicted probabilities of commercialization derived from deep-learning algorithms.
    JEL: J16 O31
    Date: 2023–06
  4. By: Ho Fai Chan (Queensland University of Technology); Ali Sina Önder (University of Portsmouth); Sascha Schweitzer (Reutlingen University); Benno Torgler (Queensland University of Technology)
    Abstract: Social media, especially Twitter, plays an increasingly important role among researchers in showcasing and promoting their research. Does Twitter affect academic citations? Making use of Twitter activity about columns published on VoxEU, a renowned online platform for economists, we develop an instrumental variable strategy to show that Twitter activity about a research paper has a causal effect on the number of citations that this paper will receive. We find that the existence of at least one tweet, as opposed to none, leads to 16-25% more citations. Doubling the overall Twitter engagement generates up to 16% more citations.
    Keywords: Productivity; Social Media; Twitter; Citations; Economists
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2023–06–19
  5. By: Dreber, Anna; Johannesson, Magnus
    Abstract: A fundamental question to the scientific enterprise is to what extent published scientific findings are credible. This question is related to the reproducibility and replicability of scientific findings where reproducibility is defined as testing if the results of an original study can be reproduced using the same data and replicability is defined as testing if the results of an original study hold in new data. We provide a framework for evaluating reproducibility and replicability in economics and divide reproducibility and replicability studies into five types: computational reproducibility, recreate reproducibility, robustness reproducibility, direct replicability and conceptual replicability, and we propose indicators to be reported for each type.
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Robinson, Jonny
    Abstract: A journal editor once told us authors
    Date: 2023–05–31
  7. By: Lars Vilhuber
    Abstract: Transparency and reproducibility are often seen in opposition to privacy and confidentiality. Data that need to be kept confidential are seen as an impediment to reproducibility, and privacy would seem to inhibit transparency. I bring a more nuanced view to the discussion, and show, using examples from over 1, 000 reproducibility assessments, that confidential data can very well be used in reproducible and transparent research. The key insight is that access to most confidential data, while tedious, is open to hundreds if not thousands of researchers. In cases where few researchers can consider accessing such data in the future, reproducibility services, such as those provided by some journals, can provide some evidence for effective reproducibility even when the same data may not be available for future research.
    Date: 2023–05

This nep-sog issue is ©2023 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.