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It’s Good to Be First: Order Bias in Reading and Citing NBER Working Papers

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Feenberg

    (NBER)

  • Ina Ganguli

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Patrick Gaulé

    (CERGE-EI)

  • Jonathan Gruber

    (MIT and NBER)

Abstract

When choices are made from ordered lists, individuals can exhibit biases toward selecting certain options as a result of the ordering. We examine this phenomenon in the context of consumer response to the ordering of economics papers in an e-mail announcement issued by the NBER. We show that despite the effectively random list placement, papers listed first each week are about 30% more likely to be viewed, downloaded, and subsequently cited. We suggest that a model of “skimming” behavior, where individuals focus on the first few papers in the list due to time constraints, would be most consistent with our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Feenberg & Ina Ganguli & Patrick Gaulé & Jonathan Gruber, 2017. "It’s Good to Be First: Order Bias in Reading and Citing NBER Working Papers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(1), pages 32-39, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:1:p:32-39
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Victor A. Ginsburgh & Jan C. van Ours, 2003. "Expert Opinion and Compensation: Evidence from a Musical Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 289-296, March.
    2. Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris M., 2013. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on List Position and Consumer Choice," MPRA Paper 48074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Herbert Glejser & Bruno Heyndels, 2001. "Efficiency and Inefficiency in the Ranking in Competitions: the Case of the Queen Elisabeth Music Contest," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 25(2), pages 109-129, May.
    4. Liran Einav & Leeat Yariv, 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 175-187, Winter.
    5. Wei Huang, 2015. "DO ABCs GET MORE CITATIONS THAN XYZs?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 773-789, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Heiko Jacobs & Alexander Hillert, 2016. "Alphabetic Bias, Investor Recognition, and Trading Behavior," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 693-723.
    2. Sultan Orazbayev, 2017. "Sequential order as an extraneous factor in editorial decision," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 113(3), pages 1573-1592, December.
    3. Yushan Hu & Ben Li, 2017. "The Production Economics of The Economics Production," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 924, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. repec:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:2:p:489-520 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Breitmoser, Yves, 2017. "Discrete Choice with Presentation Effects," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 35, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    6. Breitmoser, Yves, 2016. "The axiomatic foundation of logit and its relation to behavioral welfare," MPRA Paper 71632, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Breitmoser, Yves, 2016. "Stochastic choice, systematic mistakes and preference estimation," MPRA Paper 72779, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Sultan Orazbayev, 2017. "Diversity and collaboration in Economics," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2017-4, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    9. Harris, Mark & Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris, 2019. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on the Causes of Position Effects in Individual Choice," MPRA Paper 94072, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Juan I Block & Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine, 2017. "Learning Dynamics Based on Social Comparisons," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000001375, David K. Levine.
    11. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2016. "Media attention and betting markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-333.
    12. Debraj Ray & Arthur Robson, 2018. "Certified Random: A New Order for Coauthorship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 489-520, February.
    13. repec:eee:indorg:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:136-161 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:jeeman:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:317-341 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Mavridis, Christos & Díaz, Guillermo & Casas, Agustin, 2016. "The last shall be the first : failed accountability due to voters fatigue and ballot design," UC3M Working papers. Economics 22539, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    16. Breitmoser, Yves, 2018. "The Axiomatic Foundation of Logit," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 78, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    17. Maier, Carl G. & Marencak, Michal, 2017. "Uninformed buyers and market efficiency," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168207, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Kurz, Verena, 2017. "Nudging to reduce meat consumption: Immediate and persistent effects of an intervention at a university restaurant," Working Papers in Economics 712, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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