Thursday, December 27, 2012

Economics: Older Authors, More Original Data

Six Decades of Top Economics Publishing: Who and How?

Daniel Hamermesh
NBER Working Paper, December 2012

Abstract: 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.

I wonder if this is because the revolution in economics methods changed publication in the 1950s.  Or was it just the new emphasis on publication, at all, that has now reached steady state?  If that's true, then the new distribution is what we should expect, and the bias toward younger authors and low-hanging fruit data sets was short-lived.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

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