nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒02
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström, Axventure AB

  1. Statistical reporting errors in economics By Bruns, Stephan; Herwartz, Helmut; Ioannidis, John P.A.; Islam, Chris-Gabriel; Raters, Fabian H. C.
  2. From Surveillance to Empowerment: Redirecting Research in Authoritarian Regimes through Academic Incentives and Collaboration By liu, zhouyan
  3. Nash's bargaining problem and the scale-invariant Hirsch citation index By Josep Freixas; Roger Hoerl; William S. Zwicker

  1. By: Bruns, Stephan; Herwartz, Helmut; Ioannidis, John P.A.; Islam, Chris-Gabriel; Raters, Fabian H. C.
    Abstract: We developed a tool that scrapes and interprets statistical values (DORIS) to analyze reporting errors, which occur if the eye-catcher depicting the level of statistical significance is inconsistent with the reported statistical values. Using 578, 132 tests from the top 50 economics journals, we find that 14.88 % of the articles have at least one strong error in the main tests. Our pre-registered analysis suggests that mandatory data and code availability policies reduce the prevalence of strong errors, while suggestive indication of a reversed effect is found for top 5 journals. Integrating DORIS into the review process can help improving article quality.
    Date: 2023–09–06
  2. By: liu, zhouyan
    Abstract: Authoritarian governments monitoring citizens and manipulating public opinion is a major source of human rights violations and a critical threat to democracies worldwide. Past policy responses have faced insurmountable challenges, as domestic policies of authoritarian countries are difficult to influence. Regulation of the academic community is an under-recognized step toward addressing this issue. Authoritarian governments ultimately rely on their own scientists to develop various technologies for political oppression. However, scientists themselves have dual identities, being subject to authoritarian governments and being part of the international academic community, with values that are often more aligned with those of the international academic community. They primarily serve their governments for career advancement purposes. If the international academic community can provide alternative incentives, we may be able to attract academic professionals to the side of protecting human rights and weakening the political control of authoritarian countries. This report, through case studies and quantitative analysis of all papers published in Chinese on “public opinion, ” finds that as many as one quarter of the studies help the Chinese government more strictly monitor and manipulate public opinion, likely driven by the motive of career advancement. A review of the codes of conduct of major academic organizations, such as The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), reveals no mention of surveillance and manipulation of public opinion, except in Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) guidelines, indicating significant regulatory gaps. This neglect stands in stark contrast to voluminous writing and agreements on ethical issues along other research frontiers, such as biomedicine or even other areas of artificial intelligence. The report proposes three policy recommendations for international academic organizations: 1. Incorporate Surveillance and Public Opinion Manipulation Issues into Existing Code of Ethics and Publication Review Process. 2. Establish and promote competitive incentive policies for elite scientists from authoritarian countries to encourage their engagement in research that promotes freedom of expression in public opinion. 3. Encourage international academic institutions to collaborate with international organizations, human rights groups, and media outlets to raise awareness about the issue of digital surveillance, public opinion research, and their impact on privacy and human rights. The report emphasizes the importance of adopting a “Regulatory Collaboration” principle, which is to say, a comprehensive and balanced approach to addressing the challenges associated with international research collaborations, as opposed to an “Exclusionary Stance, ” or the exclusion of scientists from authoritarian countries from participating in international academic exchange activities. By adhering to this principle, we can avoid excessive influence of xenophobic political forces and agendas on academia (such as the Trump-era China Initiative, which reduced research productivity), and maintain the principles of academic freedom, anti-discrimination, and free international academic exchange and cooperation to effectively and sustainably protect the academic community and enable global scientific research to better serve human welfare.
    Date: 2023–09–07
  3. By: Josep Freixas; Roger Hoerl; William S. Zwicker
    Abstract: A number of citation indices have been proposed for measuring and ranking the research publication records of scholars. Some of the best known indices, such as those proposed by Hirsch and Woeginger, are designed to reward most highly those records that strike some balance between productivity (number of papers published), and impact (frequency with which those papers are cited). A large number of rarely cited publications will not score well, nor will a very small number of heavily cited papers. We discuss three new citation indices, one of which was independently proposed in \cite{FHLB}. Each rests on the notion of scale invariance, fundamental to John Nash's solution of the two-person bargaining problem. Our main focus is on one of these -- a scale invariant version of the Hirsch index. We argue that it has advantages over the original; it produces fairer rankings within subdisciplines, is more decisive (discriminates more finely, yielding fewer ties) and more dynamic (growing over time via more frequent, smaller increments), and exhibits enhanced centrality and tail balancedness. Simulations suggest that scale invariance improves robustness under Poisson noise, with increased decisiveness having no cost in terms of the number of ``accidental" reversals, wherein random irregularities cause researcher A to receive a lower index value than B, although A's productivity and impact are both slightly higher than B's. Moreover, we provide an axiomatic characterization of the scale invariant Hirsch index, via axioms that bear a close relationship, in discrete analogue, to those used by Nash in \cite{Nas50}. This argues for the mathematical naturality of the new index. An earlier version was presented at the 5th World Congress of the Game Theory Society, Maastricht, Netherlands in 2016.
    Date: 2023–09

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