AER, Economics, education

Academic Economics: winner-take-all or winner’s curse?

For those of you who may have missed these posts, last week saw two interesting studies of the academic economics field.

The first looked at agglomeration and peer effects in research, using data from French Economics departments. I have also thrown around some ideas about economic geography and research, but these guys have done the econometrics and have some interesting findings:

Department characteristics have an explanatory power that can be as high as that of individual characteristics. The departments that generate most externalities are those where academics are homogeneous in terms of publication performance and have diverse research fields, and, to a lesser extent, large departments, with more women, older academics, star academics and foreign co-authors. Department specialisation in a field also favours publication in that field. 

Marginal Revolution blog linked to an article with the title: An empirical guide to hiring assistant Professors in Economics. The research looked at the research productivity of PhD’s from the top programmes and predictors of the number of AER-equivalent publications at year six after graduation (when they will be applying for tenure). The finding is that the student’s rank in the class and the departmental rank are important predictors of future research productivity. The bit that was tweeted around is this: “even at Harvard the median graduate has only 0.04 AER-equivalent papers at year six”.

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