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Evaluations: Hidden Costs, Questionable Benefits, and Superior Alternatives

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Margit Osterloh

Abstract

Research evaluation is praised as the symbol of modern quality management. We claim firstly, performance evaluations in research have higher costs than normally assumed, because the evaluated persons and institutions systematically change their behavior and develop counter strategies. Moreover, intrinsic work motivation is crowded out and undesired lock-in effects take place. Secondly, the benefits of performance evaluations are questionable. Evaluations provide too little information relevant for decision-making. In addition, they lose importance due to new forms of scientific cooperation on the internet. Thirdly, there exist superior alternatives. They consist in careful selection and supportive process coaching � and then leave individuals and research institutions to direct themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, 2006. "Evaluations: Hidden Costs, Questionable Benefits, and Superior Alternatives," IEW - Working Papers 302, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dichev, Ilia D, 1999. "How Good Are Business School Rankings?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(2), pages 201-213, April.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2004. "Fairness and Incentives in a Multi-task Principal-Agent Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 453-474, October.
    3. Tilman Brück & Andreas Stephan, 2006. "Do Eurozone Countries Cheat with their Budget Deficit Forecasts?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 3-15, February.
    4. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, January.
    5. Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, 1985. "Control: Organizational and Economic Approaches," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 134-149, February.
    6. Butler, Linda, 2003. "Explaining Australia's increased share of ISI publications--the effects of a funding formula based on publication counts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 143-155, January.
    7. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:scient:v:103:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1518-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marcella Corsi & Carlo D'Ippoliti & Federico Lucidi, 2011. "On the Evaluation of Economic Research: The Case of Italy," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 369-402.
    3. Wolfram Elsner & Fred Lee, 2010. "Assessing economic research and the future of heterodox economics. Failures and alternatives of journals, departments, and scholars rankings," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 7(1), pages 31-41.
    4. Maredia, Mywish K., 2009. "Improving the proof: Evolution of and emerging trends in impact assessment methods and approaches in agricultural development," IFPRI discussion papers 929, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Matthias Meyer & Rüdiger W. Waldkirch & Michael A. Zaggl, 2012. "Relative Performance Measurement of Researchers: The Impact of Data Source Selection," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 64(4), pages 308-330, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evaluation; rankings; hidden costs; multi taskng; intrinsic motivation; control theory; selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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