Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Gálvez, 10 June 2017

Researchers are evaluated using citation counts, often with a cut-off date. But this column shows that the lifecycle of citations differs between disciplines, with some subjects having earlier peaks or steeper declines in annual citations than others. These differences should be taken into account when evaluating researchers or institutions.

Fernanda Estevan, Thomas Gall, Patrick Legros, Andrew Newman, 23 May 2017

In recent years, several US states have introduced college admission policies that reward local rather than global relative performance by guaranteeing admission to students graduating in the top N-percent of their high school. This column examines how these policies affected socioeconomic and ethnic segregation at both the university and high school levels in the state of Texas. While the policies did not replicate the level of diversity in universities seen under earlier affirmative action policies, they did lead to a reduction in the overall level of ethnic segregation in high schools.

Yuki Higuchi, Miyuki Sasaki, Makiko Nakamuro, 20 May 2017

The quality of English language teaching in Japan is disappointing when compared with other East Asian countries or with the quality of other school subjects. This column assesses the impact of an English learning programme via Skype for Japanese high school students. Although a positive impact on English communication skills could not be established, mostly likely due to the low utilisation of the programme, it did have a positive impact on student attitudes. Policymakers may wish to consider how to combine regular English lectures and online English learning programmes to improve results.

Nattavudh Powdthavee, Yohanes E. Riyanto, Jack L. Knetsch, 18 May 2017

Economists are judged on both the number of times they publish and where they publish. Yet very little is known about the impact on reputation of including lower-rated journals in an author’s list of publications. This column presents evidence that including these publications has a negative impact on judgements of the author’s contribution by other economists. To the extent that such judgements may influence research and publication strategies, the findings imply negative implications for social welfare.

Christian Dustmann, Patrick Puhani, Uta Schӧnberg, 15 May 2017

Selective schooling (or ‘tracking’) seeks to improve efficiency in education by tailoring curricula to students’ needs, but opponents argue that it can lead to segregation and lifelong disadvantages. This column draws on evidence from Germany to argue for the importance of flexibilities in any new system of selective education, as with the UK’s proposed reintroduction of grammar schools. Substantial disadvantages in terms of teaching curriculum and peer exposure do not need to have long-term consequences, as long as the education system allows revising initial choices at later stages.

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