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Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Sharon M. Oster

Abstract

We examine the impact of communication technology on scholarly productivity by considering patterns of coauthored economics articles. Using articles in three major economics journals from 1970--79 and 1992--96, we find (1) sharp growth from distant coauthorships (authors not in the same metropolitan area prior to publication), as the theory predicts, and, contrary to theory, (2) lower productivity of distant than close-coauthored works and no decline in their relative disadvantage. These findings are reconciled by noting that high technology has aspects of a consumer good. The relative productivity of solo-authored articles has decreased, perhaps explaining the secular increase in coauthorship. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 40 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 539-555

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:4:p:539-555

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References

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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 1998. "Globalization and the Market for Teammates," NBER Working Papers 6579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dasgupta, Partha, 1988. "Patents, Priority and Imitation or, the Economics of Races and Waiting Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 66-80, March.
  3. Sharon M. Oster & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Aging And Productivity Among Economists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 154-156, February.
  4. Greenman, N. & Mairesse, J., 1996. "Computers and Productivity in France: Some Evidence," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 15/96, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  5. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
  6. Catherine J. Morrison, 2000. "Assessing The Productivity Of Information Technology Equipment In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 471-481, August.
  7. Sauer, Raymond D, 1988. "Estimates of the Returns to Quality and Coauthorship in Economic Academia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 855-66, August.
  8. John E. DiNardo & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," NBER Working Papers 5606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Quandt, Richard E, 1976. "Some Quantitative Aspects of the Economics Journal Literature," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 741-55, August.
  10. McDowell, John M & Smith, Janet Kiholm, 1992. "The Effect of Gender-Sorting on Propensity to Coauthor: Implications for Academic Promotion," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(1), pages 68-82, January.
  11. Zvi Griliches, 1958. "Research Costs and Social Returns: Hybrid Corn and Related Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 419.
  12. Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1989. "The Welfare Analysis of Product Innovations, with an Application to Computed Tomography Scanners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 444-79, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ajay K. Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb, 2006. "Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," NBER Working Papers 12812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2012. "Six Decades of Top Economics Publishing: Who and How?," NBER Working Papers 18635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ofer H. Azar, 2005. "The Review Process in Economics: Is It Too Fast?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 482–491, October.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2006. "The Value of Peripatetic Economists: A Sesqui-Difference Evaluation of Bob Gregory," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(257), pages 138-149, 06.
  5. Daniel Johnson & Kristina Lybecker, 2012. "Does Distance Matter Less Now? The Changing Role of Geography in Biotechnology Innovation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35, February.
  6. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
  7. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco van der Leij & Jose Luis Moraga, 2004. "Economics: An Emerging Small World?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-001/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Kim, E. Han & Morse, Adair & Zingales, Luigi, 2009. "Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 353-381, September.
  9. Matthias Krapf, 2012. "Age and Complementarity in Scientific Collaboration," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-18, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  10. Waverly W. Ding & Sharon G. Levin & Paula E. Stephan & Anne E. Winkler, 2009. "The Impact of Information Technology on Scientists' Productivity, Quality and Collaboration Patterns," NBER Working Papers 15285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco van der Leij & Jose Luis Moraga, 2004. "Economics: An Emerging Small World?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-001/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2013. "Six Decades of Top Economics Publishing: Who and How?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 162-72, March.
  13. Hollis, Aidan, 2001. "Co-authorship and the output of academic economists," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 503-530, September.

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