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External Influence as an Indicator of Scholarly Importance


  • Ho Fai Chan
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Jana Gallus
  • Markus Schaffner
  • Benno Torgler
  • Stephen Whyte


The external influence of scholarly activity has to date been measured primarily in terms of publications and citations, metrics that also dominate the promotion and grant processes. Yet the array of scholarly activities visible to the outside world are far more extensive and recently developed technologies allow broader and more accurate measurement of their influence on the wider societal discourse. Accordingly we analyze the relation between the internal and external influences of 723 top economics scholars using the number of pages indexed by Google and Bing as a measure of their external influence. Although the correlation between internal and external influence is low overall , it is highest among recipients of major key awards such as the Nobel Prize or John Bates Clark medal , and particularly strong for those ranked among the top 100 researchers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus & Markus Schaffner & Benno Torgler & Stephen Whyte, 2013. "External Influence as an Indicator of Scholarly Importance," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2013-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
    2. Garrett, Thomas A, 1999. "A Test of Shirking under Legislative and Citizen Vote: The Case of State Lottery Adoption," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 189-208, April.
    3. John Carey & Simon Hix, 2013. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: a comment and reinterpretation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 139-148, January.
    4. David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2013. "Voters elect politicians who closely matched their preferences," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1001-1009.
    5. Justin Fox, 2007. "Government transparency and policymaking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 23-44, April.
    6. Alois Stutzer & Michael Zehnder, 2013. "Is camera surveillance an effective measure of counterterrorism?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 1-14, February.
    7. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
    8. Matsusaka, John G., 2010. "Popular Control of Public Policy: A Quantitative Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 133-167, August.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. External Impact and Ideal Academic Careers
      by David Stern in Stochastic Trend on 2013-10-03 05:00:00


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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:scient:v:101:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1379-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Elisabeth Maria Schlagberger & Lutz Bornmann & Johann Bauer, 2016. "At what institutions did Nobel laureates do their prize-winning work? An analysis of biographical information on Nobel laureates from 1994 to 2014," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(2), pages 723-767, November.
    3. Zhenbin Yan & Qiang Wu & Xingchen Li, 2016. "Do Hirsch-type indices behave the same in assessing single publications? An empirical study of 29 bibliometric indicators," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(3), pages 1815-1833, December.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1581-y is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Academia; Scholarly Importance; Role of Economics; Social Importance of Economists; External; Internal Influence; Academic Performance; Awards;

    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
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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