Lower-rated publications do lower academics’ judgments of publication lists: Evidence from a survey experiment of economists

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Journal of Economic Psychology, ISSN: 0167-4870, Vol: 66, Page: 33-44

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Nattavudh Powdthavee; Yohanes E. Riyanto; Jack L. Knetsch
Elsevier BV
Social Sciences; Psychology; Economics, Econometrics and Finance
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Publications in leading journals are widely known to have a positive impact on economists’ judgments of the value of authors’ contributions and professional reputations. While conjectures that publications in lower-rated journals likely have a negative impact on such judgments are common, there have been virtually no direct tests of their validity. Our intent is to provide results from such a test, one that involved asking economists from 44 universities throughout the world to rate either a publication list with only higher-rated journals or a list with all of these but with additional publications in lower-rated journals. Our primary finding was that, holding other things constant, adding publications in lower-rated journals to what is typically considered a good publication record does have a significant negative impact on economists’ judgments of the value of the author’s contribution. Most implications of this bias suggest negative impacts on social welfare.