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Alphabet Economics: The link between names and reputation

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  • Efthyvoulou, Georgios

Abstract

In economics, most coauthored papers have all coauthors in alphabetical order. It is sometimes argued that this conveys advantages to people whose names start with letters that come early in the alphabet. This paper examines whether the alphabetical ranking of names affects someone's reputation. Overall, we find that faculty members with earlier last name initials are more likely to get employment at high standard research departments. Furthermore, we show that the relationship between alphabetical placement and academic success remains significant if we use as an alternative measure of reputation the number of people showing an interest in the papers of a particular academic. This paper also investigates whether the reported alphabetical effect creates differential incentives for coauthoring. It is found that the reputational advantage of first-authorship motivates people to manipulate their names so as to obtain a more beneficial alphabetical position within the majority of articles.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1266-1285

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:3:p:1266-1285

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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  1. C. Mirjam van Praag & Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2007. "The Benefits of Being Economics Professor A (and not Z)," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-048/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2001. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Discussion Papers in Economics 01/8, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  3. Moore, William J & Newman, Robert J & Turnbull, Geoffrey K, 2001. "Reputational Capital and Academic Pay," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 663-71, October.
  4. Richard Dusansky & Clayton J. Vernon, 1998. "Rankings of U.S. Economics Departments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 157-170, Winter.
  5. McDowell, John M & Melvin, Michael, 1983. "The Determinants of Co-Authorship: An Analysis of the Economics Literature," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 155-60, February.
  6. Maxim Engers & Joshua S. Gans & Simon Grant & Stephen King, 1999. "First-Author Conditions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 859-883, August.
  7. Liran Einav & Leeat Yariv, 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 175-187, Winter.
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