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U.S. and them : the geography of academic research

  • Das, Jishnu
  • Do, Quy-Toan
  • Shaines, Karen
  • Srinivasan, Sowmya

Using a database of 76,046 empirical economics papers published between 1985 and 2004 in the top 202 economics journals, the authors report two associations. First, per-capita research output on a given country increases with the country's per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Regressions controlling for data availability and quality in the country, indicators of governance and the use of English yield an estimated research-GDP elasticity of 0.37; surprisingly, the United States (US) is not an outlier in the production of empirical research. Second, papers written about the US are far more likely to be published in the top five economics journals, even after the quality of research has been partially controlled for through fixed-effects for the authors'institutional affiliations; the estimates suggest that papers on the US are 2.6 percentage points more likely to be published in the top-five journals. This is a large effect because only 1.5 percent of all papers written about countries other than the US are published in the top-five journals. The authors speculate about the interpretations of these facts, and invite further analysis and additions to the public release of the database that accompanies this paper.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5152.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5152
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  1. 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.
  2. Kodrzycki Yolanda K. & Yu Pingkang, 2006. "New Approaches to Ranking Economics Journals," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-44, August.
  3. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-67, December.
  4. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "The Slowdown of the Economics Publishing Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 947-993, October.
  5. Pranab Bardhan, 2003. "Journal publication in economics: a view from the periphery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(488), pages F332-F337, 06.
  6. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "Favoritism versus Search for Good Papers: Empirical Evidence Regarding the Behavior of Journal Editors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 194-203, February.
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