The evolution of the scientific productivity of highly productive economist
This paper studies the evolution of research productivity of a sample of economists working in the best 81 departments in the world in 2007. The main novelty is that, in so far as a productivity distribution can be identified with an income distribution, we measure productivity mobility in a dynamic context using an indicator inspired in an income mobility index suggested by Fields (2010) for a two-period world. Productivity is measured in terms of the number of publications in each of four classes, weighted according to a rather elitist scheme. We study the evolution of average productivity, productivity inequality, the extent of rank reversals, and productivity mobility for seven cohorts, as well as the population as a whole. We offer new evidence confirming previous results about the heterogeneity of the evolution of productivity for top and other researchers. However, the major result is that –contrary to what was expected– for our sample of very highly productive scholars the effect of rank reversals between the two periods on overall productivity mobility offsets the effect of an increase in productivity inequality from the first to the second period in the youngest five out of seven cohorts
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