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Evaluation of Researchers: A Life Cycle Analysis of German Academic Economists

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  • Michael Rauber
  • Heinrich Ursprung

Abstract

In this paper we ague that any meaningful bibliometric evaluation of researchers needs to take into account that research productivity follows distinct life cycles. Using an encompassing data set portraying the research behavior of German academic economists, we first show that research productivity crucially depends on career age and vintage. Based on the identified effects, we develop a simple formula that shows how a researcher’s performance compares to that of his or her peers. This kind of information may serve as an input for performance-related remuneration and track-record based allocation of research grants. We then go on to investigate the persistence of individual productivity. The Persistence issue is of special importance in the academic labor market because of the irrevocable nature of tenure. Finally, we show how life cycle considerations can be used in evaluations of university departments in order to render the resulting rankings insensitive to the age structure of the evaluated faculties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1673.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1673

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Keywords: research productivity; performance evaluation; life cycles; rankings;

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References

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  1. Coupé, Tom & Smeets, Valérie & Warzynski, Frédéric, 2003. "Incentives, Sorting and Productivity along the Career: Evidence from a Sample of Top Economists," Working Papers 03-16, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Turner, Laure, 2006. "Identifying Age, Cohort and Period Effects in Scientific Research Productivity - Discussion and Illustration Using Simulated and Actual Data on French Physicists," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  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. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Laurent Linnemer, 2003. "Where are the Economists Who Publish? Publication Concentration and Rankings in Europe Based on Cumulative Publications," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1250-1308, December.
  5. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Michael Rauber & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Life Cycle and Cohort Productivity in Economic Research: The Case of Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 431-456, November.
  8. Bell, John G & Seater, John J, 1978. "Publishing Performance: Departmental and Individual," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 599-615, October.
  9. Frank, Bjorn & Schulze, Gunther G., 2000. "Does economics make citizens corrupt?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 101-113, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Hofmeister & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Das Handelsblatt Ökonomen-Ranking 2007: Eine kritische Beurteilung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(3), pages 254-266, 08.
  2. Günther G. Schulze & Susanne Warning & Christian Wiermann, 2008. "What and How Long Does It Take to Get Tenure? The Case of Economics and Business Administration in Austria, Germany and Switzerland," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 473-505, November.
  3. Susanne Warning & Christian Wiermann & Günther G. Schulze, 2008. "Zeitschriftenrankings für die Wirtschaftswissenschaften Konstruktion eines umfassenden Metaindexes," Discussion Paper Series 3, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg, revised Mar 2008.
  4. Heining, Jörg & Jerger, Jürgen & Lingens, Jörg, 2007. "Success in the Academic Labour Market for Economics - The German Experience," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 422, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Michael Rauber & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Life Cycle and Cohort Productivity in Economic Research: The Case of Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 431-456, November.
  6. Heinrich W. Ursprung & Markus Zimmer, 2007. "Who is the "Platz-Hirsch" of the German Economics Profession? A Citation Analysis," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 227(2), pages 187-208, April.
  7. Oliver Fabel & Miriam Hein & Robert Hofmeister, 2008. "Research Productivity in Business Economics: An Investigation of Austrian, German and Swiss Universities," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 506-531, November.
  8. Michael Graber & Andrey Launov & Klaus Wälde, 2008. "Publish or Perish? The Increasing Importance of Publications for Prospective Economics Professors in Austria, Germany and Switzerland," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 457-472, November.
  9. Jörg Heining & Jürgen Jerger & Jörg Lingens, 2008. "Deutsche Hochschulkarrieren im Fach Volkswirtschaftslehre. Eine deskriptive Analyse von Lebenslaufdaten," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(3), pages 306-328, 08.

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