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Are leading papers of better quality? Evidence from a natural experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Tom Coupé

    (Kyiv School of Economics and Kyiv Economics Institute)

  • Victor Ginsburgh

    (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles and CORE, Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Abdul Noury

    (CORE, Université Catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Coupé & Victor Ginsburgh & Abdul Noury, 2008. "Are leading papers of better quality? Evidence from a natural experiment," Discussion Papers 9, Kyiv School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kse:dpaper:9
    Note: Under review in Oxford Economic Papers
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    File URL: http://repec.kse.org.ua/pdf/KSE_dp9.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sofronis Clerides & Panos Pashardes & Alexandros Polycarpou, 2011. "Peer Review vs Metric‐based Assessment: Testing for Bias in the RAE Ratings of UK Economics Departments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(311), pages 565-583, July.
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    5. Liran Einav & Leeat Yariv, 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 175-187, Winter.
    6. William J. Moore & Robert J. Newman & Peter J. Sloane & Jeremy D. Steely, 2002. "Productivity Effects of Research Assessment Exercises," Departmental Working Papers 2002-15, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    7. 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 427-450, January.
    8. Scott Smart & Joel Waldfogel, 1996. "A Citation-Based Test for Discrimination at Economics and Finance Journals," NBER Working Papers 5460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Lead papers are not particularly better
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-03-09 17:21:00

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    Cited by:

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    3. Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo & Sapio, Alessandro, 2013. "Do collaborations enhance the high-quality output of scientific institutions? Evidence from the Italian Research Assessment Exercise," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 25-36.
    4. Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Does the John Bates Clark Medal boost subsequent productivity and citation success?," ECON - Working Papers 111, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2018. "Citations in Economics: Measurement, Uses, and Impacts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(1), pages 115-156, March.
    6. Rose, Michael E. & Opolot, Daniel C. & Georg, Co-Pierre, 2022. "Discussants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(10).
    7. Harris, Mark N. & Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris M., 2022. "Being in the right place: A natural field experiment on the causes of position effects in individual choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 24-40.
    8. Sultan Orazbayev, 2017. "Diversity and collaboration in Economics," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2017-4, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    9. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni & Alessandro Sapio, 2012. "Do collaborations enhance the high-quality output of scientific institutions? Evidence from the Italian Research Assessment Exercise (2001-2003)," Discussion Papers 4_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    10. Feng Guo & Chao Ma & Qingling Shi & Qingqing Zong, 2018. "Succinct effect or informative effect: the relationship between title length and the number of citations," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1531-1539, September.
    11. Carmela Lutmar & Yaniv Reingewertz, 2021. "Academic in-group bias in the top five economics journals," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 126(12), pages 9543-9556, December.
    12. Novarese, Marco & Wilson, Chris M., 2013. "Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on List Position and Consumer Choice," MPRA Paper 48074, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Yezhu Wang & Yundong Xie & Dong Wang & Lu Guo & Rongting Zhou, 2022. "Do cover papers get better citations and usage counts? An analysis of 42 journals in cell biology," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 127(7), pages 3793-3813, July.
    14. Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Does the John Bates Clark Medal boost subsequent productivity and citation success?," ECON - Working Papers 111, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    15. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Can We Test for Bias in Scientific Peer-Review?," IZA Discussion Papers 3665, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Chan, Ho Fai & Frey, Bruno S. & Gallus, Jana & Torgler, Benno, 2014. "Academic honors and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
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