Headlines 2018

New research by Assar Lindbeck published in top research journal


In the October issue of the Journal of Political Economy an article is published by Assar Lindbeck, IFN and Stockholm University, and Mats Persson, Stockholm University: "Social Norms in Social Insurance". JPE is one of the five top journals in the field of economics, where it is extremely challenging to be published. "It is unique to publish new research in any of these journals at the age of 88," says Professor Magnus Henrekson, CEO of IFN. By comparison, it can be mentioned that among the winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, so far, the oldest to publish original research as a full-length article in a top-five journal, is Vernon Smith. At the time, he was 81.

Paul Samuelson, arguably the most influential economist in the postwar period, was only 69 years old when he published his last top-five article, and Kenneth Arrow was 56. (See list below with published articles by winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics.)

But age is not the only factor of interest. In a new study by Magnus Henrekson, IFN, and Simon Ek, Uppsala University and IFN, examine who publish in the top-five journals, where they are based and with whom they cooperate. Ek and Henrekson, discuss how today’s strong emphasis on and struggle to publish in these five journals affect researchers' behavior and economic research in Europe.

Henrekson and Ek have studied the five top journals during the period 1994–2017: American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics and Review of Economic Studies. They conclude that the concentration of U.S.-based researchers/authors that have previously published in the top five journals has slightly declined. This development is primarily driven by increased co-authoring between American and non-American researchers and between researchers with and without previous top five articles.

"The proportion where authors are non-US-based and have not previously published in a top-five journal is 5 percent. And that proportion has not changed since the mid-1990s," says Magnus Henrekson.

Against this background, he and Simon Ek deem that European universities and research institutes should be careful about putting too much emphasis on publication in the top-five journals. Or else, the developing of and diversity in the field of economics may suffer.

“Keep in mind that only a small percentage of all the articles published in these journals include junior co-authors who are not based in the United States, and even fewer articles are published by non-U.S.-based researchers publishing for the first time in any of the top-five journals.”

Also, Ek and Henrekson identify two alternative strategies for junior researchers from Europe who want to maximize their chances to be published in a top 5 journal:

1. Collaborate with a senior U.S. professor with several previous publications in top-five journals.

2. Step by step work yourself upwards in the journal hierarchy within a particular field and thus become increasingly recognized as a top researcher in that field.

List for those who want to know more about publications in top journals by Nobel Prize winners ...

Read more … (“The Geography and Concentration of Authorship in the Top Five: Implications for European Economics”, IFN-working paper 1240)

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