Ability and Specialization Among Economic Researchers

17 December 2008 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

Forgive the navel-gazing, but some of you may enjoy Todd Kendall’s paper in the December 2008 issue of MDE, “Ability and Specialization Among Economic Researchers,” which looks at the relationship between a researcher’s human capital and the scope of his activities. The sample consists of academic economists at top-50 US universities. Kendall shows that economists from more prestigious PhD programs tend to publish in more general journals, controlling for quality, and to list more JEL subject codes per paper. The quality control is important because the most prestigious journals (as in most fields) are also the most general. But the sample includes prestigious specialty journals and lower-tier general journals.

Naturally I’m tempted to ask for the raw data so I can analyze some sub-samples containing people I know personally. But perhaps it’s better not to go there. I do plan to defend myself against charges of being “eclectic” or “unfocused” by referring to this study and calling myself a “distinguished generalist.” At least it avoids Rothbard’s Law.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Education, Institutions.

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