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The National Research Council Ranking of Research Universities: Its Impact on Research in Economics

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  • Randall G. Holcombe

Abstract

Administrators at many universities are using the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) measures of departmental performance to assess the performance of their economics departments. The NRC methodology measures faculty publications, citations, and grants in specific ways, which gives departments an incentive to enhance their performance as measured by the NRC metrics. This affects departmental hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions, and gives faculty an incentive to do the type of research that can produce more publications, citations, and grants as measured by the NRC. The NRC criteria count only a subset of publications, citations, and grants, so using that metric rewards research that the NRC counts over research that produces publications, citations, and grants that the NRC does not count. This favors mainstream work over more heterodox approaches to economics, favors expensive research programs that can be federally funded, and tends to make research departments more homogeneous.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall G. Holcombe, 2004. "The National Research Council Ranking of Research Universities: Its Impact on Research in Economics," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 498-514, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:1:y:2004:i:3:p:498-514
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Margit Osterloh & Bruno S. Frey, 2009. "Research Governance in Academia: Are there Alternatives to Academic Rankings?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2797, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Margit Osterloh & Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Academic rankings and research governance," IEW - Working Papers 482, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Evaluitis � Eine Neue Krankheit," IEW - Working Papers 293, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    4. Daniel B. Klein & Eric Chiang, 2004. "The Social Science Citation Index: A Black Box—with an Ideological Bias?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(1), pages 134-165, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    National Research Council; faculty evaluation; economic research; academic publications; research grants; departmental rankin;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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