Pluralism at Risk?
We analyze Italy's recent research evaluation exercise (VTR) as a salient example in discussing some internationally relevant issues emerging from the evaluation of research in economics. We claim that evaluation and its criteria, together with its linkage to research institutions' financing, are likely to affect the direction of research in a problematic way. As the Italian case documents, it is specifically economists who adopt unorthodox paradigms or pursue less diffused topics of research that should be concerned about research evaluation and its criteria. After outlining the recent practice of economic research in Italy and highlighting the relevant scope for pluralism that traditionally characterizes it, we analyze the publications submitted for evaluation to the VTR. By comparing these publications to all the entries in the EconLit database authored by economists located in Italy, we find a risk that the adopted ranking criteria may lead to disregarding historical methods in favor of quantitative and econometric methods, and heterodox schools in favor of mainstream approaches. Finally, by summarizing the current debate in Italy, we claim that evaluation should not be refused by heterodox economists, but rather that a reflection on the criteria of evaluation should be put forward at an international level in order to establish fair competition among research paradigms, thus, preserving pluralism in the discipline. Copyright © 2010 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..
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Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
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