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Matthew: Effect or Fable?

  • Pierre Azoulay
  • Toby Stuart
  • Yanbo Wang
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    In a market context, a status effect occurs when actors are accorded differential recognition for their efforts depending on their location in a status ordering, holding constant the quality of these efforts. In practice, because it is very difficult to measure quality, this ceteris paribus proviso often precludes convincing empirical assessments of the magnitude of status effects. We address this problem by examining the impact of a major status-conferring prize that shifts actors' positions in a prestige ordering. Specifically, using a precisely constructed matched sample, we estimate the effect of a scientist becoming a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator (HHMI) on citations to articles the scientist published before the prize was awarded. We do find evidence of a post-appointment citation boost, but the effect is small and limited to a short window of time. Consistent with theories of status, however, the effect of the prize is significantly larger when there is uncertainty about article quality, and when prize-winners are of (relatively) low status at the time of election to HHMI.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18625.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2012
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    Publication status: published as Matthew: Effect or Fable? Pierre Azoulay, Toby Stuart, Yanbo Wang 60(1), pp. 92–109 Published Online: August 2, 2013 Volume 60, Issue 1, January 2014
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18625
    Note: PR
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    1. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 527-554, 09.
    2. David H. Hsu, 2004. "What Do Entrepreneurs Pay for Venture Capital Affiliation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1805-1844, 08.
    3. Matthew S. Bothner & Joel M. Podolny & Edward Bishop Smith, 2011. "Organizing Contests for Status: The Matthew Effect vs. the Mark Effect," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 439-457, March.
    4. Peter W. Roberts & Adina D. Sterling, 2012. "Network Progeny? Prefounding Social Ties and the Success of New Entrants," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(7), pages 1292-1304, July.
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