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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.

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Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 12/10.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 10 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:12/10
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  1. AMIR, Rabah & KNAUFF, Malgorzata, 2005. "Ranking economics departments worldwide on the basis of PhD placement," CORE Discussion Papers 2005051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Laurent Linnemer, 2010. "Inferring Missing Citations: A Quantitative Multi-Criteria Ranking of all Journals in Economics," Working Papers halshs-00520325, HAL.
  3. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2010. "An Updated Ranking of Academic Journals in Economics," Working Paper Series 15_10, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  4. Chia‐Lin Chang & Michael McAleer & Les Oxley, 2011. "What Makes A Great Journal Great In Economics? The Singer Not The Song," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 326-361, 04.
  5. Joseph Macri & Dipendra Sinha, 2006. "Rankings Methodology for International Comparisons of Institutions and Individuals: an Application to Economics in Australia and New Zealand," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 111-156, 02.
  6. Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
  7. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
  8. Glenn Ellison, 2010. "How Does the Market Use Citation Data? The Hirsch Index in Economics," NBER Working Papers 16419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John Gibson, 2000. "Research productivity in New Zealand university economics departments: Comment and update," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 73-87.
  10. Christiana E. Hilmer & Michael J. Hilmer, 2005. "How Do Journal Quality, Co-Authorship, and Author Order Affect Agricultural Economists' Salaries?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(2), pages 509-523.
  11. Sauer, Raymond D, 1988. "Estimates of the Returns to Quality and Coauthorship in Economic Academia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 855-66, August.
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