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Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Sharon M. Oster

Abstract

We examine the impact of communication technology on scholarly productivity by considering patterns of coauthored economics articles. Using articles in three major economics journals from 1970--79 and 1992--96, we find (1) sharp growth from distant coauthorships (authors not in the same metropolitan area prior to publication), as the theory predicts, and, contrary to theory, (2) lower productivity of distant than close-coauthored works and no decline in their relative disadvantage. These findings are reconciled by noting that high technology has aspects of a consumer good. The relative productivity of solo-authored articles has decreased, perhaps explaining the secular increase in coauthorship. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh & Sharon M. Oster, 2002. "Tools or Toys? The Impact of High Technology on Scholarly Productivity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 539-555, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:4:p:539-555
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics

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