IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/ecinqu/v52y2014i4p1267-1283.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Willful Blindness: The Inefficient Reward Structure In Academic Research

Author

Listed:
  • STAN J. LIEBOWITZ

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> This article examines how economics departments judge research articles and assign credit to authors. It begins with a demonstration that only strictly prorated author credit induces researchers to choose efficient sized teams. Nevertheless, survey evidence reveals that most economics departments only partially prorate authorship credit, implying excessive coauthorship. Indeed, a half-century increase in coauthorship may be better explained by incomplete proration than by any increased specialization among authors. A possible explanation for the reliance on incomplete proration is the self-interest of economists who are more likely to engage coauthorship—full professors. The self-interest of senior faculty may also explain the relatively small role given to citations in senior promotions. A rational response by economists to the under-proration of author credit is to engage in false authorship. Although false authorship is of dubious ethical status, it may have the perverse impact of improving the efficiency of team production. Grossly excessive coauthorship, where little attention is paid to most authors listed on a paper, as found in some other academic disciplines, may be the path down which economics is headed if the reward structure is not altered. (JEL A14, O30, I23)

Suggested Citation

  • Stan J. Liebowitz, 2014. "Willful Blindness: The Inefficient Reward Structure In Academic Research," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1267-1283, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:52:y:2014:i:4:p:1267-1283
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecin.12039
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Hudson, 1996. "Trends in Multi-authored Papers in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 153-158, Summer.
    2. 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 855-866, August.
    3. Liebowitz, S J, 1985. "Copying and Indirect Appropriability: Photocopying of Journals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 945-957, October.
    4. 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 155-160, February.
    5. David Card & Stefano DellaVigna, 2013. "Nine Facts about Top Journals in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 144-161, March.
    6. Hollis, Aidan, 2001. "Co-authorship and the output of academic economists," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 503-530, September.
    7. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    8. Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
    9. Matthias Sutter & Martin Kocher, 2004. "Patterns of co-authorship among economics departments in the USA," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 327-333.
    10. Barnett, Andy H & Ault, Richard W & Kaserman, David L, 1988. "The Rising Incidence of Co-authorship in Economics: Further Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 539-543, August.
    11. 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.
    12. 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 663-671, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Maren Duvendack & Richard W. Palmer-Jones & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "Replications in Economics: A Progress Report," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 12(2), pages 164–191-1, May.
    2. Mukherjee, Conan & Alam, Aftab, 2016. "On Evaluating Author's Performance by Publications: An Axiomatic Study," Working Papers 2016:14, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 12 May 2017.
    3. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:45:p:4542-4553 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1945-1965 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gibson, John, 2014. "Returns to articles versus pages in academic publishing: Do salary-setters show ‘article illusion’?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(3), pages 343-346.
    6. repec:aea:jeclit:v:56:y:2018:i:1:p:115-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2016. "Citation-Capture Rates for Economics Journals: Do they Differ from Other Disciplines and Does it Matter?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(1), pages 73-85, March.
    8. Thomas Eger & Marc Scheufen & Daniel Meierrieks, 2016. "The determinants of open access publishing: survey evidence from countries in the Mediterranean Open Access Network (MedOANet)," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(4), pages 463-489, December.
    9. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2018. "Citations in Economics: Measurement, Uses, and Impacts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(1), pages 115-156, March.
    10. John Gibson, 2018. "The Micro-Geography of Academic Research:How Distinctive is Economics?," Working Papers in Economics 18/03, University of Waikato.
    11. David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2015. "Are Researcher Rankings Stable Across Alternative Output Measurement Schemes in the Context of a Time Limited Research Evaluation? The New Zealand Case," Working Papers in Economics 15/10, University of Waikato.
    12. John Gibson & David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2017. "Citations Or Journal Quality: Which Is Rewarded More In The Academic Labor Market?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1945-1965, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:52:y:2014:i:4:p:1267-1283. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/weaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.