Determinants of Scholarly Productivity among Male and Female Economists

By Maske, Kellie L.; Durden, Garey C. et al. | Economic Inquiry, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Determinants of Scholarly Productivity among Male and Female Economists


Maske, Kellie L., Durden, Garey C., Gaynor, Patricia E., Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this article is to test a model of the determinants of articles produced by male and female academics. Of particular interest is how article production is influenced by coauthorship, institutional research orientation, and gender. Several works have identified and demonstrated the trend toward coauthorship in economics and in other disciplines. Using data from the Journal of Economic Literature, Heck and Zaleski (1991) demonstrated that the incidence of coauthorship has increased from about 15% of total articles in 1969 to about 35% in 1989. Durden and Perri (1995) report that as of 1992 the proportion coauthored had grown to more than 38%. Hudson (1996) finds that by 1993 coauthorship rates in the Journal of Political Economy and American Economic Review were 39.6% and 54.9%, respectively, as compared to rates of 6% and 8% in 1950.

Why do economists coauthor? Rational interest theory suggests that if scholars collaborate then there must be a utility-enhancing result, other things equal. This could be in the form of higher salaries and increased probabilities of promotion, greater access to funded research, greater mobility in job markets, and the like, which might result if collaboration significantly increases the overall production of published papers. Studies by McDowell and Melvin (1983), Barnett et al. (1988), and Piette and Ross (1992) suggest that coauthorship among scholars may increase article production through the division of labor made necessary by increased complexity in the subject matter and by the need to saturate markets to increase the probability of getting papers accepted for publication. Laband and Tollison (2000) find evidence that increasing rates of coauthorship result from the greater quantitative content of articles, greater requirement for the use of sophisticated econometric techniques, and the fact that cooperation is cheaper in time and other resources as compared to learning what is necessary to publish in another field or discipline. Hamermesh and Oster (2002) discuss nonpecuniary, purely consumption benefits, such as the pleasure obtained from cooperation, and suggest that higher levels of prestige among colleagues may also be relevant.

Although many reasons for cooperation have been developed, not much has been done to determine whether the rate of coauthorship among scholars actually affects total article production. Using cross section data, Hansen et al. (1978) and Graves et al. (1982) estimate productivity models, but coauthorship is not included in either study. McDowell and Smith (1992) include a coauthorship variable but find that it neither increases nor decreases article production when articles are discounted by the number of authors. Hollis (2001) uses panel data to examine the relationship between coauthorship and research productivity. He finds that coauthorship leads to better, longer, and more frequent publications. When publications are discounted by the number of authors, however, coauthorship appears negatively related to research output. McDowell and Smith's (1992) and Hollis's (2001) results are very counterintuitive, because a viable reason for coauthorship is to increase efficiency, as shown in Durden and Perri (1995). Durden and Perri (1995) estimate a time-series model, finding that coauthorship is highly instrumental in determining article productivity.

As far as we know, the only study by economists that specifically analyzes the effect of institutional research orientation on publishing output is that by Graves et al. (1982). Using data from 240 schools, they estimate total pages published per faculty member in the top 24 economics journals between 1974-78. Using a series of independent variables to proxy influences that affect publication, they find that secretaries per faculty member helps and teaching load hinders production. The effects of Ph.D. status, teaching assistance, and faculty--student ratios are mixed, depending on specification of the model.

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