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The Matthew effect in economics reconsidered

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  • Birkmaier, Daniel
  • Wohlrabe, Klaus

Abstract

We apply the test of Ijiri and Simon (1974) to a large data set of authors in economics. This test has been used by Tol (2009, 2013a) to identify a (within-author) Matthew effect for authors based on citations. We show that the test is quite sensitive to its underlying assumptions and identifies too often a potential Matthew effect. We propose an alternative test based on the pure form of Gibrat's law. It states that stochastic proportionate citation growth, i.e. independent of its size, leads to a lognormal distribution. By using a one-sided Kolmogorov–Smirnov test we test for deviations from the lognormal distribution which we interpret as an indication of the Matthew effect. Using our large data set we also explore potential empirical characteristics of economists with a Matthew effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Birkmaier, Daniel & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2014. "The Matthew effect in economics reconsidered," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 880-889.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:8:y:2014:i:4:p:880-889
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2014.08.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
    2. Seiler, Christian & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2012. "Ranking economists on the basis of many indicators: An alternative approach using RePEc data," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 389-402.
    3. Tol, Richard S.J., 2013. "The Matthew effect for cohorts of economists," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 522-527.
    4. Wang, Jian, 2014. "Unpacking the Matthew effect in citations," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 329-339.
    5. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
    6. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378, Elsevier.
    7. Ijiri, Yuji & Simon, Herbert A, 1974. "Interpretations of Departures from the Pareto Curve Firm-Size Distributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 315-331, Part I, M.
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    1. Daniel Birkmaier & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2014. "Der Matthäus-Effekt in der Ökonomie," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 67(17), pages 38-42, September.
    2. Alexander Butz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2016. "Die Ökonomen-Rankings 2015 von Handelsblatt, FAZ und RePEc: Methodik, Ergebnisse, Kritik und Vergleich," ifo Working Paper Series 212, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Justus Haucap & Tobias Thomas & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2017. "Publication Performance vs. Influence: On the Questionable Value of Quality Weighted Publication Rankings," CESifo Working Paper Series 6818, CESifo.
    4. Alexander Butz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2016. "Anmerkungen und Kritik zu den Ökonomen-Rankings 2015 von Handelsblatt, FAZ und RePEc," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(10), pages 37-44, May.
    5. Lina M. Cortés & Andrés Mora-Valencia & Javier Perote, 2016. "The productivity of top researchers: a semi-nonparametric approach," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(2), pages 891-915, November.
    6. Migheli, Matteo & Zotti, Roberto, 2020. "The strange case of the Matthew effect and beauty contests: Research evaluation and specialisation in Italian universities," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    7. Klaus Wohlrabe & Constantin Bürgi, 2020. "Do Working Papers Increase Journal Citations? Evidence from the Top 5 Journals in Economics," CESifo Working Paper Series 8643, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Matthew effect; Gibrat's law; Kolmogorov–Smirnov;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics

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