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Are Leading Papers of Better Quality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

  • Tom Coupé
  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Abdul Ghafar Noury

Leading papers in a journal’s issue attract, on average, more citations than those that follow. It is, however, difficult to assess whether they are of better quality (as is often suggested), or whether this happens just because they appear first in an issue. We make use of a natural experiment that was carried out by a journal in which papers are randomly ordered in some issues, while this order is not random in others. We show that leading papers in randomly ordered issues also attract more citations, which casts some doubt on whether, in general, leading papers are of higher quality.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers ECARES with number 2008_014.

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Length: 16 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2008_014
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  1. Sofronis Clerides & Panos Pashardes & Alexandros Polycarpou, 2006. "Peer Review vs Metric-Based Assessment: Testing for Bias in the RAE Ratings of UK Economics Departments," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 7-2006, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. William J. Moore & Robert J. Newman & Peter J. Sloane & Jeremy D. Steely, . "Productivity Effects of Research Assessment Exercises," Departmental Working Papers 2002-15, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  3. Victor Ginsburgh & Jan van Ours, 2003. "Expert opinion and compensation: evidence from a musical competition," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1681, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-makers," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 744, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2005. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521848053.
  6. Ayres, Ian & Vars, Fredrick E, 2000. "Determinants of Citations to Articles in Elite Law Reviews," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 427-50, January.
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