An Empirical Regularity in the Market for Risk and Insurance Research Output

Article excerpt

Introduction

Most of the research in economics and finance (see, e.g., Liebowitz and Palmer, 1984; Laband, 1985; Blair et al., 1986; Ederington, 1979) supports the use of article citation as the best quantitative measure of research productivity. Unfortunately, as noted by Cox and Gustavson (1990, p. 265), it is difficult for insurance researchers to evaluate peers or themselves by citation count, because only two insurance journals (Journal of Risk and Insurance and Insurance: Mathematics and Economics) are included in the Social Science Citation Index. This article provides an alternative basis for evaluating the relative performance of risk and insurance researchers by identifying an empirical regularity in the frequency distribution of risk and insurance researchers' article publications.

Lotka's Law

Lotka (1926) proposed an inverse square law relating authors of scientific articles to the number of articles written by each author. Using data from the decennial Chemical Abstracts and Auerbach's Geschichtstafeln der Physik, Lotka plots the number of authors against the number of contributions made by each author on a logarithmic scale. Lotka finds that the points are closely scattered around a straight line having a slope of approximately negative two. On the basis of this empirical observation, Lotka suggested the following equation to describe the pattern of research output among authors:

|a.sub.n~ = |a.sub.1~/|n.sup.2~, n = 1,2,3,..., (1)

where |a.sub.n~ is the number of authors publishing n articles, and |a.sub.1~ is the number of authors publishing one article. Subsequent studies (e.g., Mandelbrot, 1954; Bookstein, 1977; Simon, 1955; Price, 1976) have shown that the generalized version of Lotka's Law, |a.sub.n~ = |a.sub.1~/|n.sup.c~ (c = a constant), has not only an empirical validity but also theoretical robustness since it can be derived from different sets of assumptions (see Chung and Cox, 1990, pp. 302-303, for a detailed review of this literature).

Related Research

Several studies have descriptively analyzed risk and insurance research output. Outreville and Malouin (1985) identified leading risk and insurance journals based upon the qualitative perceptions of academic members of the American Risk and Insurance Association. Chandy and Thornton (1985) used the number of articles published in the Journal of Risk and Insurance and the Journal of Insurance Issues and Practices to report rankings of contributing institutions. Cox and Gustavson (1990) conducted a comprehensive study of academic research output in the risk and insurance discipline by documenting the productivity of individual authors, their employers, and the institutions granting authors' terminal degrees.

However, none of these studies has examined whether the pattern of productivity in the risk management and insurance literature conforms to a bibliometric regularity, such as Lotka's Law.(1) This study examines whether the bibliometric regularity depicted by Lotka's inverse square law and its generalized version exists in the insurance literature. Identifying such a bibliometric regularity will be particularly useful for risk and insurance researchers, because it will help assess the likelihood of multiple publications in the insurance literature. In addition, this study provides a historical record of the market concentration in the risk and insurance research output, a factor that must be monitored as future editorial changes at the journals and reorganization of faculties take place.

Article Authorship

Our primary interest is to test for a bibliometric regularity in the Journal of Risk and Insurance, because it has been regarded as the most influential journal among those who publish primarily academic risk and insurance research (see Cox and Gustavson, 1990). In addition, we include five other risk and insurance journals. Authorship for all main articles, notes, and specialized articles is compiled for each of the six journals for the years 1976 through 1990, or for the journal's inaugural issue through 1990. …