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Status, Quality, and Attention: What's in a (Missing) Name?

  • Timothy S. Simcoe


    (Boston University School of Management, Boston, Massachusetts 02215; and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

  • Dave M. Waguespack


    (Management and Organization Department, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742)

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    How much are we influenced by an author's identity when evaluating his or her work? This paper exploits a natural experiment to measure the impact of status signals in the context of open standards development. For a period of time, e-mails announcing new submissions to the Internet Engineering Task Force would replace individual author names with "et al." if submission volumes were unusually high. We measure the impact of status signals by comparing the effect of obscuring high- versus low-status author names. Our results show that name-based signals can explain up to three-quarters of the difference in publication rates between high- and low-status authors. The signaling effect disappears for a set of prescreened proposals that receive more scrutiny than a typical submission, suggesting that status signals are more important when attention is scarce (or search costs high). We also show that submissions from high-status authors receive more attention on electronic discussion boards, which may help high-status authors to develop their ideas and bring them forward to publication. This paper was accepted by Jesper Sørensen, organizations.

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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 274-290

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:2:p:274-290
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    1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
    2. 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.
    3. David M. Waguespack & Lee Fleming, 2009. "Scanning the Commons? Evidence on the Benefits to Startups Participating in Open Standards Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(2), pages 210-223, February.
    4. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
    5. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
    6. Mowery, David C. & Simcoe, Timothy, 2002. "Is the Internet a US invention?--an economic and technological history of computer networking," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1369-1387, December.
    7. Podolny, Joel M & Phillips, Damon J, 1996. "The Dynamics of Organizational Status," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 453-71.
    8. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-67, December.
    9. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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