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Do large departments make academics more productive? Sorting and agglomeration economies in research

Listed author(s):
  • Clément Bosquet

    (SERC - Spatial Economic Research Center - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Pierre-Philippe Combes

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po)

We study how departments’ characteristics impact academics’ quantity and quality of publications in economics. Individual time-varying characteristics and individual fixed-effects are controlled for. Departments’ characteristics have an explanatory power at least equal to a fourth of that of individual characteristics and possibly as high as theirs. An academic’s quantity and quality of publications in a field increase with the presence of other academics specialised in that field and with the share of the field’s output in the department. By contrast, department’s size, proximity to other large departments, homogeneity in terms of publication performance, presence of colleagues with connections abroad, and composition in terms of positions and age matter at least for some publication measures but only when individual fixed effects are not controlled for. This suggests a role for individual positive sorting where these characteristics only attract more able academics. A residual negative sorting between individuals’ and departments’ unobserved characteristics is simultaneously exhibited.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-01292851.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2016
Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01292851
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