Friday, December 28, 2012

Publications in Economics

Daniel S. Hamermesh just posted a new paper as an NBER WP, "Six Decades of Top Economics Publishing: Who and How" (for a free copy, see here). 

The abstract reads:
"Presenting data on all full-length articles published in the three top general economics journals for one year in each of the 1960s through 2010s, I analyze how patterns of co-authorship, age structure and methodology have changed, and what the possible causes of these changes may have been. The entire distribution of number of authors has shifted steadily rightward.  In the last two decades the fraction of older authors has almost quadrupled.  The top journals are now publishing many fewer papers that represent pure theory, regardless of sub-field, somewhat less empirical work based on publicly available data sets, and many more empirical studies based on data assembled for the study by the author(s) or on laboratory or field experiments."

So, good news for my more senior senior colleagues. 

There is also some interesting statistic on female authors:

.."the sharp increase in the fraction of authors who are women, with the share of female authors nearly tripling over this period. [...] While the share of female authors in the 1963 and 1973 
samples is not much different from the female share of new doctorates in those years, however, 
the growing share of female doctorates far outpaced the growing share of authors in these top 
journals. [...]  Categorizing authorship by age and gender, it is notable that in 2003 and 2011 women ages 35 or less accounted for 16 percent of all authors in that age group, an increase, but still far below the 29 percent female representation  among assistant professors at Ph.D.-granting 
institutions in 2011-12 (AEA, 2012).  Whatever the causation, perhaps this deficit explains the 
greater (and uniquely greater to economics) female survival rate without tenure in this profession 
(Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn, 2004). "

On coauthorship: "Many students of the sociology of economics  have pointed out the increase in coauthorship (e.g., Aidan Hollis, 2001), which [...] has proceeded over the entire last half century. What is less well known is that the frequency distribution of the number of authors per article has been moving steadily rightwards.." And "Fifty-five percent of the two-authored papers in the 
sample are produced by people within five years of age (and in 2011 only two represented 
collaborations between young faculty and their current or recent Ph.D. student).  The only 
(weak) evidence for this inference (NOTE: namely that "much of the coauthorship might be of the older European model, with the senior professor co-authoring with  his/her Ph.D. student/recent graduate")  is that in only 35 percent of the 85 three-authored articles is the average absolute age difference among the authors five years or less, and in nearly half of  them the oldest author is more than 10 years older than the youngest. At the very least, however, most the greater propensity of prime-age scholars to coauthor does not appear to be attributable chiefly to their publishing with Ph.D. students." 

Female authors and coauthorship: "Using a sample of articles from these three journals for the 1990s, Anne Boschini and Anna Sj√∂gren (2007) find women are less likely to coauthor than men.  The probit and ordered probits [...] covering a much longer time period, weakly suggest the same conclusion. Moreover, an expanded specification that interacted gender with time showed that this difference has not changed over these six decades."

As a conclusion and maybe something to think about: "To the extent that economics faculties do not “divide by N” in judging young faculty members’ publications at tenure time, this deficit may also help explain the unusually high rates  of “survival” without tenure among female economists."

What explains the low rate of female coauthoring? Could it be (i) preferences, (ii) opportunities, or potentially (iii) a (maybe only imagined) larger penalty from coauthoring than for others?

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