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Which Journal Rankings Best Explain Academic Salaries? Evidence from the University of California


  • John Gibson

    () (University of Waikato)

  • David L. Anderson

    () (Queen's University)

  • John Tressler

    () (University of Waikato)


The ranking of an academic journal is important to authors, universities, journal publishers and research funders. Rankings are gaining prominence as countries adopt regular research assessment exercises that especially reward publication in high impact journals. Yet even within a rankings-oriented discipline like economics there is no agreement on how aggressively lower ranked journals are down-weighted and in how wide is the universe of journals considered. Moreover, since it is typically less costly for authors to cite superfluous references, whether of their own volition or prompted by editors, than it is to ignore relevant ones, rankings based on citations may be easily manipulated. In contrast, when the merits of publication in one journal or another are debated during hiring, promotion and salary decisions, the evaluators are choosing over actions with costly consequences. We therefore look to the academic labor market, using data on economists in the University of California system to relate their lifetime publications in 700 different academic journals to salary. We test amongst various sets of journal rankings, and publication discount rates, to see which are most congruent with the returns implied by the academic labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • John Gibson & David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2012. "Which Journal Rankings Best Explain Academic Salaries? Evidence from the University of California," Working Papers in Economics 12/10, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:12/10

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Does publishing better pay better in California?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-09-13 19:17:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Cecilia García-Peñalosa, 2013. "Gender and Competition: Evidence from Academic Promotions in France," Working Papers halshs-00875204, HAL.
    2. Wohlrabe, Klaus & Bornmann, Lutz, 2017. "Normalization of citation impact in economics," MPRA Paper 80384, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Maren Duvendack & Richard W. Palmer-Jones & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "Replications in Economics: A Progress Report," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 12(2), pages 164–191-1, May.
    4. Victoria Anauati & Sebastian Galiani & Ramiro H. Gálvez, 2016. "Quantifying The Life Cycle Of Scholarly Articles Across Fields Of Economic Research," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1339-1355, April.
    5. Christian Zimmermann, 2013. "Academic Rankings with RePEc," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(3), pages 1-32, December.
    6. A. Muravyev., 2013. "On Scientific Value of Russian Journals in Economics and Related Fields," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    7. Krapf, Matthias & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Zimmermann, Christian, 2017. "Parenthood and productivity of highly skilled labor: Evidence from the groves of academe," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 147-175.
    8. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1945-1965 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gibson, John, 2014. "Returns to articles versus pages in academic publishing: Do salary-setters show ‘article illusion’?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(3), pages 343-346.
    10. Yuqing Zheng & Harry M. Kaiser, 2016. "Submission Demand In Core Economics Journals: A Panel Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1319-1338, April.
    11. Sebastian Galiani & Ramiro H. Gálvez, 2017. "The Life Cycle of Scholarly Articles across Fields of Research," NBER Working Papers 23447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Shumilov, A. & Balatsky, E., 2016. "RePEc Academic Rankings: Construction Issues and the Role of Russian Participants," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 111-138.
    13. Ferda, HALICIOGLU, 2014. "Research Ranking Place of Turkish Economists in the World," MPRA Paper 54058, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Shumilov, Andrei & Balatsky, Evgeny, 2016. "Академические рейтинги RePEc: вопросы построения и роль российских участников
      [RePEc Academic Rankings: Construction Issues and the Role of Russian Participants]
      ," MPRA Paper 70956, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Muravyev, Alexander, 2012. "К Вопросу О Классификации Российских Журналов По Экономике И Смежным Дисциплинам
      [On classification of Russian journals in Economics and related fields]
      ," MPRA Paper 43459, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Kosteas, Vasilios D., 2015. "Journal impact factors and month of publication," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 77-79.
    17. John Gibson & David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2017. "Citations Or Journal Quality: Which Is Rewarded More In The Academic Labor Market?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1945-1965, October.

    More about this item


    journal rankings; academic labor market;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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    1. Rankings of Economists, Economics Departments and Economics Journals


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