Academic economists, like any other group of professionals, are extremely competitive and concerned with measuring their own success. This column argues that that one cannot rank individual scholars’ achievements by the traditional summary measures, such as where their research is published or the institution with which they are affiliated. Properly judging success in economics requires paying attention to individual outcomes, not to aggregates that are poor signals of the individual results of which they are comprised.
Daniel S. Hamermesh, 14 December 2015
John Gibson, 06 June 2014
Common understanding among academic economists is that ‘top five’ publications are qualitatively more valuable than lesser ones. This column presents recent research showing the effect of top publications (versus others) on salaries in the University of California system. Publications in prestigious journals have similar effects on salaries compared to other publications, with one notable exception.
Jishnu Das, Quy-Toan Do, 11 February 2014
The world has globalised massively yet some worry that academic publication has not. This column provides new evidence from 76,046 papers published during 1985-2004 in the top 202 economics journals. It shows that GDP per capita accounts for 75% of the variation in the country-focus of publications, suggesting the overrepresentation of the US is not an anomaly. Yet a closer look at top-five journals reveals a US bias that cannot be explained by data or researcher quality.
John Hudson, 11 November 2013
Academics are subject to new types of evaluations. In the UK this is done via the Research Excellence Framework (REF). This column discusses some of the shortcomings of the REF and the methods individual papers are ranked. New evaluations and requirements change the incentives of economists and can affect their research – sometimes not for the better.
David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, 21 January 2013
'Publish or perish' has been the rule in academic economics since forever, but there is a widespread perception that publishing in the best journals has become harder and much slower. This column presents new evidence confirming the perception. The number of articles published in top journals has fallen, while the number and length of submissions have risen. The profession should consider recalibrating publication demands to reflect this new reality.
Andrew J Oswald, 24 January 2009
This column measures the quality of university economics research in Europe and the UK by concentrating on within-journal rankings of influential articles. The UK and Europe are doing relatively well, and top-level research output is not concentrated at half a dozen world-famous institutions. Science-funding policies by European governments should reflect this diversity.
Ivan Cherkashin, Svetlana Demidova, Susumu Imai, Kala Krishna, 28 June 2008
Publishing in economics journals is a long and arduous process. Rejection can’t be made painless, but this column suggests that it could be quicker. Using confidential data on a decade of submissions to the Journal of International Economics, the authors find that the editors usually make the right decision but take nearly half a year to do so when they could reject almost 40% of papers without consulting referees.