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How Should Research Performance Be Measured? A Study of Swedish Economists

Billions of euros are allocated every year to university research. Increased specialisation and international integration of research and researchers has sharply raised the need for comparisons of performance across fields, institutions and individual researchers. However, there is still no consensus regarding how such rankings should be conducted and what output measures are appropriate to use. We rank all full professors in a particular discipline, economics, in one European nation using seven established, and some of them commonly used, measures of research performance. Our examination shows both that the rank order can vary greatly across measures, and that depending on the measure used the distribution of total research out-put is valued very differently. The renowned KMS measure in economics stands out among the measures analysed here. It exhibits the weakest correlation with the others used in our study. We conclude by giving advice to funding councils and others assessing research quality on how to think about the use of both quantitative and qualitative measures of performance.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 693.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 04 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Henrekson, Magnus and Daniel Waldenström, 'How Should Research Performance Be Measured? A Study of Swedish Economists' in The Manchester School, 2011, pages 1139-1156.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0693
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-(0)8-736 90 00
Fax: +46-(0)8-31 01 57
Web page: http://www.hhs.se/
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  1. BAUWENS, Luc & KIRMAN, Alan & LUBRANO, Michel & PROTOPOPESCU, Camelia, 2003. "Ranking economics departments in Europe: a statistical approach," CORE Discussion Papers 2003050, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2001. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Discussion Papers in Economics 01/8, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  3. Richard Dusansky & Clayton J. Vernon, 1998. "Rankings of U.S. Economics Departments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 157-170, Winter.
  4. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "Dry Holes in Economic Research," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 161-173, 05.
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  1. Rankings of Economists, Economics Departments and Economics Journals

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