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How much do journal titles tell us about the academic interest and relevance of economic research? An empirical analysis

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  • Felix Schlaepfer

    () (Institute for Environmental Decision, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)

Abstract

Unlike in other disciplines, research output in economics is commonly measured based on the journal titles in which an author has published. Here, I examine how much output measures based on journal titles tell us about the academic interest and relevance of economic papers as measured by citation frequency. Using data from the 2008 Handelsblatt ranking of economists in German speaking countries and interdisciplinary citation data from the Web of Science, I find that researcher scores based on journal titles explain only about one fourth of the variation (variance) in article citations. When the top 10 (20) percent of the researchers according to journal title scores are excluded, the percentage of explained variation in citation frequency drops to 5 (3) percent. These findings empirically confirm the hypothesis that the measures of research output in economics promote narrow and complacent work that is of interest to few, even among an academic audience. They suggest that responsible hiring committees and funding institutions should re-examine existing standards in evaluation and abandon the heavy reliance on journal titles as a measure of individual research output.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Schlaepfer, 2009. "How much do journal titles tell us about the academic interest and relevance of economic research? An empirical analysis," SOI - Working Papers 0917, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0917
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_soi/wp0917.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Niederalt, Michael & Schnabel, Claus & Kaiser, Christian, 2001. "Betriebliches Ausbildungsverhalten zwischen Kosten-Nutzen-Kalkül und gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung: Einflussfaktoren der Ausbildungsintensität von deutschen Betrieben," Discussion Papers 7, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 79-119.
    3. Wolter, Stefan C. & Ryan, Paul, 2011. "Apprenticeship," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    4. Klaus Stöger & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2001. "Lehrlingsausbildung in Österreich: Welche Betriebe bilden Lehrlinge aus?," Economics working papers 2001-10, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 112-142, February.
    7. Thomas J. Kane & Dietmar Harhoff, 1997. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(2), pages 171-196.
    8. Mullahy, John, 1986. "Specification and testing of some modified count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 341-365, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    citation index; incentives; publication; research evaluation; scientometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General

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