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A Citation-Based Test for Discrimination at Economics and Finance Journals

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  • Scott Smart
  • Joel Waldfogel

Abstract

Discrimination is notoriously difficult to document. Convincing tests for discrimination require good measures of the legitimate determinants of the outcome of interest, for example wages and productivity. While few contexts provide data adequate to the task of measuring discrimination, copious bibliographic data on the impact of academic research make possible tests of discrimination in the editorial process. This study develops a test for possible bias þ with respect to author gender, prestige of author's institution, article content (theory vs. empiricism), and whether the author has ties to the editor þ using a new approach based on an analysis of citations. We treat citations as a measure of article quality and ask whether papers by certain groups receive systematically different numbers of citations. The key to our approach is the observation that editors do not simply accept or reject papers. For accepted papers, editors determine articles' order within journal issue and length based on their quality assessments. We show that these 'editorial treatment' decisions are highly correlated with citations. Thus, we infer bias against a particular group of authors if their published articles have more citations, conditional editorial treatment, than other articles. Surprisingly, we document systematic editorial bias in favor of authors located outside of top institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5460.

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Date of creation: Feb 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5460

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  1. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "Favoritism versus Search for Good Papers: Empirical Evidence Regarding the Behavior of Journal Editors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 194-203, February.
  2. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
  4. Ferguson, Michael F & Peters, Stephen R, 1995. " What Constitutes Evidence of Discrimination in Lending?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 739-48, June.
  5. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1991. "Discrimination in professional sports: A survey of the literature," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 395-418, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Oswald, Andrew J., 2009. "World-Leading Research and its Measurement," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 887, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. S. Stremersch & I. Verniers & C. Verhoef, 2006. "The Quest for Citations: Drivers of Article Impact," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/422, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Dragan Ilić, 2013. "Marginally discriminated: the role of outcome tests in European jurisdiction," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 271-294, October.
  4. Philip R. P. Coelho & James McClure, 2012. "An Investigation of Editorial Favoritism in the AER," Working Papers 201203, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2012.
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:2000032 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Michel E. Philip, 2004. "Doctrines économiques, législation et discrimination.... Mais de quelle discrimination parlons nous ?," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 20(2), pages 179-192.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2001022 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Can We Test for Bias in Scientific Peer-Review?," IZA Discussion Papers 3665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Arjo Klamer & Hendrik P. van Dalen, 2001. "Attention and the Art of Scientific Publishing," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-022/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. Oswald, Andrew J., 2009. "A Suggested Method for the Measurement of World-Leading Research (Illustrated with Data on Economics)," IZA Discussion Papers 4313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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