Should departments own and control journals?

There is some discussion on Twitter of this matter, and overall I say yes, I would like to see more of this at the margin.  In economics, the two best-known department-owned journals are the Journal of Political Economy (Chicago) and Quarterly Journal of Economics (Harvard).  They also have longstanding histories of being “a bit different,” the JPE having had a Chicago school orientation, and the QJE publishing lots of Harvard grad students and graduates, and being more willing to accept papers with “behavioral” results, and perhaps with more speculative empirics as well.  In both cases, I should add those different orientations are much diminished compared to say the 1990s, the JPE in particular these days not seeming especially “Chicago school” to me, and I wonder if a Chicago school still exists amongst younger economists.

I am very glad we have had these two journals standing out as different in orientation, and I strongly believe that has encouraged innovation, even if (and in fact because) the AER would not have accepted all of those papers.  A lot of “shaky” behavioral results, for instance, have in fact turned out to be quite relevant or at the very least interesting and worthy of further investigation.

One risk is that the different general interest journals become too much alike, too subject to the same pressures, and too homogenized.  And the actual “monopoly” danger, to the extent there is one, is that the American Economic Association controls too many top journals.

To be clear, I don’t see anything sinister afoot with all the AEA journals, but here is a simple way to express my worry.  If I had to, standing on one foot, recite all of the names of those journals and their missions or areas, I don’t think I could do it without multiple mistakes.  (And frankly not so many people in the entire world devote so much attention to following published economic articles as I do, noting that Larry Katz may be #1.)  Somehow the identities are too blurred together, and I wish someone else were running one or two of them.

I am hardly “anti-big business,” but I view commercial publishers as the worst alternative for journal ownership and control.  In addition to all of the usual complaints, I think the commercial publishers often (not always) care less about the quality of the editor, as the emphasis is on how well the sales force can market the journal to libraries.

So unless you want the AEA to run everything, and I certainly do not, that is going to mean more department-owned journals.  I am impressed by those departments that have the money and the commitment to see these journals through — it is not easy.

As of late, there has been a squabble on Twitter about removing one particular journal editor for his injudicious tweets on recent public events (I don’t wish to link to this and add fuel to the fire).  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion about this particular editorship, but I will say this: Twitter is not the right forum for such a debate.  I am very pro-Twitter, as I have written numerous times in the past, but it does have some of the biases of virality, including peer pressure, and it is not always good for reproducing context or considering objections and revisions to viewpoints.  Instead, start by writing out your opinion, and considering objections, in a long, judicious, thoughtful piece.  Spend at least a few days on the piece, have three of your more critical friends “referee” it in advance of on line publication, and let it be debated for weeks.  Is “too much trouble” really a good reason not to do that?  If you think that who controls the rigorous refereeing process at a top journal is so important, the method for making judgments here is no less important.  “The refereed journals aren’t good, fair, and rigorous enough for me, so we need to slug it out and rush to judgment on…Twitter” just doesn’t make any sense.  We can do better.

Addendum: Paul Novosad has some useful suggestions for encouraging decentralization.

Comments

Almost any departure from the "big publishers own journals" model seems like an improvement: https://jakeseliger.com/2020/05/24/a-simple-solution-to-peer-review-problems/

https://twitter.com/JustinWolfers/status/1270446931668500480

It didn't start with him, but I think Tyler is referring to his tweet.

If you follow the tweet justin calls for others in the discipline to denounce Harald and demand he loose his position at the mentioned journal.

We are in the midst of a cultureal revolution. This shit is getting scary.

Or we live in an age of hysteria, where every tempest in a teacup is treated as being of world shaking importance. But yes, hysteria can be extremely scary when it becomes the basis of decision making.

Stupid language. Why should you take help of Cullen & Piu (cul) ? Rather eat some jam.

That being twitter is always bad for reproducing context.

If it is the case that the QJE is "publishing lots of Harvard grad students and graduates" at a rate higher than other good journals publish Harvard students and grads, I would consider it strong evidence against having house journals. Nepotism is inimical to science, and while it cannot be completely rooted out, giving it a seal of approval is unacceptable.

What is the economists' view on PLOS?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLOS

I am kind of surprised that after all these years it remains narrowly biological in focus.

“Pay to publish” journals are trash.

It is sad that people take the old bias for paper pay-to-publish and apply it to open access.

Because obviously free and open access cannot be done any other way.

There is no payer on the other end.

Not highlly ranked.

Biologists are low status scientists with low GRE scores.

what happens to social science studies whose results
"don't hold up well"? uncle paulie turns em into "metaphors"
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/opinion/coronavirus-reopening-marshmallow-test.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Keep on propagating yourself - in the 'jammy' environment !

I think you should visit EJMR for the best replies to the discussion.

https://www.econjobrumors.com/topic/harald-duhlig-vs-everybody

In summary, Twitter reinforces group-think, stymies innovation, and tends to favor herd-like personalities.

I know nothing of the inside baseball, economics, goings on

but I think part of Twitter being the new "first draft of history," is that it is a very raw draft. Any particular Twitter consensus seldom lasts long. Dust devils.

-----

It does make me wonder about the opposite contingent. The busy people who don't seek out the news. Who see a little bit of cable TV at night, maybe catch a few minutes of news on the radio.

Are they better or worse off? I tend to think worse, because it is easier for rare infovores be fed some company line.

Given the pervasive censorship and other meddling that Twitter applies to its platform, perhaps you ought to wonder if they are feeding you a line. Or is it that you're Very Smart and Serious™ and therefore immune to such manipulation?

Strange how the term censorship has been completely twisted around to mean that private companies need to publish whatever someone feels should be published, an attitude that used to be a hallmark of absolute monarchies and totalitarian states.

Strange that the left wasn't concerned with the privateness of companies until they took control of them.

Of course, you'd need the natives - connected or astray - raj !

Law is no different. Each law school has its own Law Review.

It should be no different for departments to create own journal or joint venture with departments of other schools to create a journal.

Thinking about a department journal is too narrow, however. How about cross disciplinary departments--creating their own journals. In fact, I would argue that inter-disciplinary scholarship is a gap in academic journals and in universities. And, universities that have "Centers" or "institutes" that draw in other disciplines are very creative and draw on the expertise of different specialties.

Law is entirely different. Its journals after not scholarly peer-reviewed outlets, but rather run by students, not blind, and allow for simultaneous submission (one of the reasons the rest of academia sneers at law profs).

Tyler,

"...I would like to see more of this at the margin." Trying to understand what information is conveyed by those last three words, cuz it seems like a tic in your writing that you can go ahead and drop.

Welcome to MR, first-timer!

Tyler pretty much lives for the following meaningless phrases to qualify his opinions:

-- In some ways

-- At the margin

-- More than has been acknowledged

-- In many ways

-- More than you would think

-- In ways that are under-appreciated

Tyler is solid Democrat.

Yes, welcome Brian, and now you know that this place is inhabited by nauseating trolls like IPA, who basically never has anything to say that is worth anything.

"At the margin" means the vast majority is fine and allocated well, but the last 10-15% could be improved. That is where the marginal in marginal revolution comes from.

Why do you need "journals" and publishers at all?

Good question but the system is constantly being reinforced. For example our business school just got scolded by one of the business school accrediting agencies in a re-accreditation report because we don't have a list of specific journals that faculty get points on for publishing in them. Not good enough top show other academics read them, or that they actually have impact on practice in accounting or whatever, you could be solving problems, no, you have to have a list of specific journals you get brownie points for publishing in.

Sounds like our accreditation state is failing us.

Anyone who has worked in the private sector has gone several rounds of HR and management consultant types complaining about the lack of objective KPIs and instituting a uniform performance rating system, so it is not as if academia is any worse on this point. Universities, just like corporations, need some sort of objective performance metric for professors and most of them fall back on teaching evaluations and publications in reputable journals.

If you remove "reputable" from the performance criteria, you leave yourself open to frauds working in obscure fields who publish junk in pay-to-play journals. University administrators or department chairs do not have the qualifications or time to evaluate the quality of each person's research (just like corporate managers cannot easily evaluate people in expert roles) so it is pretty reasonable to rely on the academic's peers to judge research quality.

Remember that recent piece by Rodney Brooks.

https://rodneybrooks.com/peer-review/

Peer review serves a purpose, not perfect purpose, but useful one overall.

You can put anything online and anybody who wants can pick it apart. There is no need for publication or gatekeeping. An academic organization with standards can be formed and issue their imprimaturs. The Internet is literally the liberal ideal of a "marketplace of ideas" immanentized.

Rodney explains why he finds that insufficient.

As long as these judgements are retained for few centuries minimum.

The "Bible" is "peer reviewed" before publishing, eg, the various King James versions, the various New Standard, not to mention the Hebrew Torah and various commentaries compiled over millennia of peer review of authored work.

Internet postings tend to vanish, but unlike writing on stone, paper, skin, etc, once lost they can't be excavated, pieced together, photographed under multiple wavelengths, to bring back bits of old works.

Google seems to certain to last forever, but so was Geocities, MySpace, and many others now long gone.

Google book and document scanning was/is done on non-exclusive basis so partial copies replicate its library, but I'm sure "unlocking value" like for MySpace will result in Google's library going the way of the library at Alexandria. But collectors of digital copies dying will like see their hard drives trashed, not sold to book dealers who cater to collectors and libraries.

And books last beyond the life of their technology, but will pdfs of today be readable in 500 years? I have plain text documents from 25 years ago I can't access because I didn't or couldn't simply copy the binary from on file system to another in time for it to pretty much vanish from memory.

And that was at least a decade after I followed and engaged in the academic debate over preserving binary works. However, I have boxes of journals that record that debate, and much more.

"You can put anything online and anybody who wants can pick it apart."

Great, so rocket scientists get to put their work online and then their work will be "picked apart" by flat earthers and space-is-fake-ers. Then what? Does anyone get to decide that the critics have no credibility? If so, haven't we just reintroduced the concept of peer review by having a filter on who is qualified to critique papers in a given field? And if not, do you realize how much free time and persistence trolls and cranks have?

Then put your paper behind a wall. Email it to actual peers. Whatever.

It's hilarious how establishmentarian the academy gets when classical liberal ideals get immanentized.

Why do you need "journals" and publishers at all?

That's the venue for academic and professional research to be distributed. Most of it will be ignored, but every once in a while something will issue which will be of interest to others.

And, for faculty at research institutions and some teaching institutions, publishing is necessary to be retained. The utility was stated some time ago by Gilbert Meilaender: it is important for faculty to place themselves in venues where they are not the smartest person in the room.

can someone please explain to me what "at the margin" means? Tyler uses this phrase constantly on his blog and podcast (as in the OP here) and I've never heard it elsewhere. I have no background in economics or science, so I'd appreciate a simple, lay-person's explanation. thanks in advance.

In general another way to speak of marginal change is as incremental change, both relative to the previous status quo.

So I think he's saying try a few more department published journals, rather than make everything that way.

This terminology, and indeed the title of the blog, comes from the introduction of calculus in economics. So marginal consumers or marginal firms would be those most susceptible to a change along a given dimension.

The idea being if you lower your price by $1, since demand curves are assumed to slope downward, you will gain consumers at the margin - those that were *almost* willing to pay at the previous price.

"the QJE publishing lots of Harvard grad students and graduates"

The is indeed a widely shared view among economists, and it's certainly not considered to be a positive for the profession!

Remember when Tyler Cowen said COVID-19 was going to kill the SJW left? I remember.

Cowen's reputation has tanked in the past few months.

Correct, his predictions are terrible. Still waiting for Greece to leave the Euro. And his advice of locking down the economy is costing us trillions of dollars for dubious human life gains. However he manage to look at issues from distance and be somewhat impartial and precise.

Right. Tyler should have said "Covid will lower the status of the left and tree-hugging celebrities. Then a video of a cop killing a black man will go viral and..." Let's give Tyler credit for talking about the virus seriously before anyone and arguably raising substantial awareness among academics and policy makers. Let's also give Tyler credit for asking people to please put sports back on so that people don't riot in the streets.

If a few "injudicious" tweets about politics are enough to dismast somebody over, I don't see how longer-form "debate" is going to proceed. Sure, more syllables might render someone's opinions more dilute, more mealy-mouthed - but OTOH they may well sink him anew.

In fact, your use of "judicious" - that could easily mean, and only mean, showing good judgment with respect to one's position or prospects. How much shorter would be the long list of things I'll never get time to read before I die, if it comprised only the utterings of the "judicious."

But certainly, the "but for twitter, and the loss of 'nuance', no one would be exiled for heterodoxy ..." is a commonplace at this point - I've never composed so much as a tweet and yet I've seen it many times. Congrats on expressing something so judicious; you'll not mind if I don't write it down.

“”” Instead, start by writing out your opinion, and considering objections, in a long, judicious, thoughtful piece. Spend at least a few days on the piece, have three of your more critical friends “referee” it in advance of on line publication, and let it be debated for weeks. ”””

One thing that makes me so sad/disappointed was that this is basically what James D’Amore did with his “Google memo”.

It’s what you often do at software companies when there’s a contentious *technical* issue to hash out, and is usually called a “design doc”.

But no media coverage that I saw (including The bloody Economist) even acknowledged that was what he was doing.

(And, if I’m honest, his firing felt like a betrayal of the very heart of Google’s engineering culture. Though I try not to have such feelings any more)

Tyler, your last paragraph is a joke. You don't want to discuss Paul Krugman and liberals as enforcers of speech safety in econ journals. Fine, but your assumption that Harald Uhlig's tweets were injudicious amounts to support NYT's position that Tom Cotton's opinion was not acceptable because a threatening mob didn't like it.

Tom Cotton's opinion was not acceptable because it was dumb and involved significantly distorting a lot of the facts. Whatever else you think of the protests, they did not require a full-scale military intervention, and the evidence from the ground mostly shows that escalatory responses (in terms of dressing out police in riot gear and using crowd-control weapons, like tear gas) did not work, as a measure for reducing overall disorder. Philadelphia was a good example; we had multiple demonstrations going on several days. The ones where de-escalatory tactics were used ended peacefully. The ones where escalatory tactics were used tended to end with rioting or looting. (There's a great potential paper in there, but I think the research problems are significant enough that it probably never gets written.)

Cotton's claim that "antifa" has "cadres" of followers that could be used for "infiltrating protest marches" for "anarchic purposes" is just bizarre and dumb, in the way that all conspiracy theories about shadowy cabals of highly organized anarchists running some kind of fifth column is dumb. It has been dumb since Chesterton wrote The Man Who Was Thursday. It is still dumb. And I say that out of kindness, because the alternate reading is that Cotton was suggesting an intentional pretext for anti-democratic, anti-civil-society behavior, as in a pretext for martial law. But I'm going to give Cotton a pass here, and assume it was just dumb conspiracy theory BS.

The NYT should know better than to print silly authoritarian porn where the conservatives finally get to roll the air cav into the cities, start shooting the SJWs, and Make America Great Again. The United States is not Nam, we are not living through a real life version of Tom Clancy's The Division (don't blame me--the game really has that title), and it should have been obvious from a mile away that Cotton's op-ed was going to provoke that response. It ran because people who should have been doing quality control were either off their game or thought that a little controversy would generate All The Clicks and miscalculated the ad-revenue to anger ratio.

The Times prints plenty of takes that could be considered "dumb" and also significantly distort facts on a daily basis. If anything, these are more dangerous because their click-bait diversity porn lands in an echo chamber among their readership. This is, of course, perfectly acceptable.

Tom Cotton's opinion was not acceptable because it was dumb and involved significantly distorting a lot of the facts.

It actually went through multiple rounds of fact checking and editing by Times employees.

Try another excuse.

>Tom Cotton's opinion was not acceptable because it was...

... shared by the majority of US Citizens, but needed to be quashed by Dem operatives with jobs at the NY Times.

PS:

Check out the forcefulness of this JCW bitch, though, eh?

Any idea where this post was copy/pasted from?

More trollish drivel from you, IPA. You are simplhy disgusting, bitch.

Just read

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cancel-culture-journalism-11591658340

and also read

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/06/begging-the-mobs-forgiveness-doesnt-work/

So, to summarize:

SL: "The NYT publishes lots of stuff that is just as bad as Tom Cotton's terrible op-ed." Yes. I agree. Tom Cotton's piece was terrible, and it's not the only terrible op-ed published by the NYT.

A&C: "They definitely looked at it." Um...see my last line about quality control. No worries--I get that it was a long post.

EB: "Did you know that other people on the internet also have takes?!? I have even read some!" Yes. It is the internet. There are definitely some other takes. Many of them will disagree with me. I'm very happy for you that you found some takes that you like better, I guess?

and finally, read this

https://reason.com/2020/06/10/the-new-york-times-says-tom-cottons-essay-fell-short-of-our-standards-what-standards/

"Tom Cotton's opinion was not acceptable..."

That's just your opinion. The Left just wants to ban all ideas they don't want to hear. And since the NYT's has no problem posting editorials from Leftists that are malicious and full of errors, what we clearly have is a double standard.

""The tone of the essay in places is needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate," the Times says.

Unnecessary harshness, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. When Times editorial board member Michelle Cottle danced on Joe Arpaio's political grave in a 2018 opinion piece, I'm sure she thought she was employing exactly the right amount of harshness. Cottle called the former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff "a disgrace to law enforcement," "a sadist masquerading as a public servant," "the proto-Trumpian embodiment of fearmongering ethnonationalism," and "a true American villain" whose "24-year reign of terror" was "medieval in its brutality.""

Michelle Cottle's piece was far worse than what Senator Cotton wrote.

https://reason.com/2020/06/10/the-new-york-times-says-tom-cottons-essay-fell-short-of-our-standards-what-standards/

If your opinion is that the NYT has a double-standard, i.e. "Michelle Cottle publishes terrible, dumb op-ed pieces, so Tom Cotton should be allowed to publish a terrible, dumb op-ed piece," then congratulations: you and I agree about how terrible and dumb Tom Cotton's piece was.

As for that being unfair, I have bad news for you about the world, and fairness, and life. It isn't fair. Sorry to be the bearer of hard news.

JWatts, when you are trying to somehow maintain the honor of Joe Arpaio, you should consider you need to sit down, put a cold compress on your forehead, and calm down. He was a racist, violent, cruel, clown.

The trouble with NYT's op-ed review is the factual blunders, which if corrected would make the policy prescriptions all the more unsupported. But if corrected, I think the NYT's publishing it would have been fine, probably with a comment.

The JCW post is obvious spam. Let it go.

No, IPA, JCW looks reasonable. You are so worthless your posts are not even good enough to be spam. At least it is edible, if just barely.

Correction: “James Damore” with no apostrophe

I wonder what effect it would have if the EPA owned a journal.

"...I wonder if a Chicago school still exists amongst younger economists."

They are paying the price of success. They had a useful critique of the existing orthodoxy. But the problem with having people implement your ideas is that although you get to see that it works, you also get to see how it breaks, and when the next generation shows up looking to critique the old orthodoxies...

As someone who considers himself "Chicago School" except for exceptions many current political movements trouble me. Is Chicago school considered racists today? I have a lot of trouble with quotes of board of directors and affirmative action. All seem to be gaining steam. While its imperfect I can't see many policies that aggressive monetary policy for full employment (firm believer that Chicago school would consider policy of last years tight) which helps the working class significantly and concerned with policies that place pressure on organization to hirer for non economic reasons. Hate ESG investing for the most part.

The comments section is a little too small for such a deep discussion, but I have a pet theory about the Chicago School which is basically a critique of simplicity and measurability. Systems conceived along relatively simple lines--so, for example, Friedman's 1970 essay on shareholder value--are beautiful and elegant, particularly as critiques of a broken system (and the U.S. economy in the 1970s was definitely headed to a breaking point: hello stagflation!). But simplicity and measurability don't hold up at scale in the real world. The incentives for gamesmanship are just too high, and principles are subject both to high levels of interpretation in the course of implementation and to the responsive behavior of actors in the system.

Moreover, the Chicago School guys had, I think, a far too limited vision in terms of outcomes. You can argue about economic well-being all you want, but lived evidence (and a lot of research) suggests that humans count value along a lot of lines other than pure economic status. They count it along social status, and relative status (I used to work in payroll, and it was an iron-clad rule in our industry that people can get angry at "how much more does my boss make than me" no matter how much money they make). They count it along behavioral axes. They count it in terms of mystical measurements against theoretical eternal markers (i.e. religion). Humans are weird.

Businesses are composed of humans. You can try to wave all that other stuff off, and for a long time you might even get away with it. But sooner or later humans gonna human, and when, for example, they go and pass laws demanding that you alter the composition of your board, explaining that shareholder value necessitates rejecting affirmative action is not actually going to work, AND people are going to think you are a jerk. Which is not totally fair, but on the other hand, not understanding humans and being a jerk often look very similar, in practice.

+100 Internet points

The failure of the 'rational agent' assumption in so many fields over many decades now should have been a warning....

Tyler,

I give you credit for recognizing that the "nepotistic" policies of QJE and JPE that most denounce have been successful basically because they have been successful at attracting especially high quality papers from their high level insiders. But they are able to do that partly because they have managed to become top 5 journals, with that status now key to getting tenure in any reasonably highly ranked econ dept. This means that for another dept to try to do this, they would have to be one of the handful of other really top ranked depts, one of the top 7 or 10 or maybe 15 at most. They are not likely to try, and I also note that none of those top 5 journals was started more recently than 1933. One does not become a top 5 journal overnight. So I fear despite your insight, this is going nowhere.

You sort of fail to nail what the competition and alternatives are. It is not big commercial publishers, and it is certainly not individual econ depts, of whom only a few have ever tried to do this. There are two other competitors, society journals and university publishers. Now you might complain with some reason that societies are not the wa to go because that is what the AEA is, and it has actually been successful at introducing some new journals that are doing well. I note that Econometrica, one of the top 5, is also a society journal, and the ES has also introduced some new journals doing not too badly, but I guess you dismiss it and them as boriingly excessively mathy.

But university publishers may be another alternative. I note that the fifth of the top 5, Review of Economic Studies is published Oxford University Press, although not tied to the Oxford dept. When the European Economic Association got going it was pubbed by MIT Press, although I think it is now pubbed by a more commercial publisher (have not double checked on that).

The bigger problem is this domination by the top 5, now seriously criticized in the recent JEL paper by Heckman. But you are not really going after that, given that QJE and JPE are part of that.

I would note there is reason to question having the AER as a top 5, and even possibly the REStud as well. If one looks at the ranking many consider to be the most significant, RePEc recursive discounted, your guys are 1 and 2, QJE and JPE, but AER is #10, with AEJ Macro at 4 and AEJ Applied at 6. If one looks at the simple impact factor list, it is even worse, with your two again the top two in same order, but with AER all the way down at #15. Ouch!

However, if you look at the Aggregate Ranking, Econometrica is tops, followed by QJE, followed by AER, followed by JEL followed by JPE, then Journal of Fin Econ and then REStud. The established view holds for that one.

BTW, one reason I am not on Twitter and continue to dinosaurishly slog around in the fading econoblogosphere is so I can post things like this one I just did. I have more to say on that, but not now.

Good comment; thank you for writing it out and not hand-waving at it.

Yes, Tyler's analysis of the market seems curiously narrow and incomplete. There's more out there than just the publishing companies, AEA, and departments.

Also a good observation about how only the most prestigious departments can have prestigious journals.

I think Novosad's post that Tyler linked to makes a good point: economists should stop thinking in terms of top 5 and should think more in terms of top 15.

Novosad's comment is reasonable but hopeless. There simply is no way that "we" can just declare that more journals should be considered by the top departments than just the top 5. The problem is that they will do what they will do no matter how stupid, and if a JEL artilcle by Nobel Prize winner Heckman (who is at Chicago) cannot do it, nobody Novosad's tweet is not going to do it eiither, even if Twitter supposedly now rules all.

I do not wish to pick on Novosad, who is well intentioned, but as simply a practical matter, there is no agreement on what are the "top 15" journals. There is agreement on which are in this "top 5" list, even if the list has become ridiculous because a couple of them, AER and REStud, a re not clearly holding up looking at serious measures. But there are many different ranking lists, and they have enormous variability among them. There simply is not remotely a clear top 15, even if somebody had the authority or respect to come down from Olympus to impose it on the top departments. They are going to do what they think they should, and the outside world van just go shove it.

I do not wish to pick on Novosad, who is well intentioned, but as simply a practical matter, there is no agreement on what are the "top 15" journals. There is agreement on which are in this "top 5" list, even if the list has become ridiculous because a couple of them, AER and REStud, a re not clearly holding up looking at serious measures. But there are many different ranking lists, and they have enormous variability among them. There simply is not remotely a clear top 15, even if somebody had the authority or respect to come down from Olympus to impose it on the top departments. They are going to do what they think they should, and the outside world van just go shove it.

A bit more on all this.

Nobody talks about "top 15" journals. The usual next category beyond top 5 is top 20. But the old joke, which indicates the problem, is that there are at least 30 "top 20" journals.

The same issue shows up in ranking econ depts. I have heard it wisecracked that there are at least 50 "top 30" departments. I suspect those 50 are the ones most obsessed with demanding that anybody getting tenure pub in a top 5 journal.

So, again, no picking on Novosad particularly, once one goes beyond those universally agreed upon top 5, there is no consensus on any larger sets. That is a major reason why those top 5 dominate so relentlessly, even if some of them do not deserve to do so.

Heck, this obsesssion with the top 5 might well extend to most of the 100 depts that think they are top 50, possibly even worse in the ones that are really lower ranked, although not being in a dept that even has a pretension of being in the top 100, I do not really know.

However, it strikes me that another factor in this obsession is that it avoids interfield arguments in depts. So I can imagine people coming up with "top field" pubs and having people get into arguments about which field is good enough for that to count, oh environmental versus development, etc. Locking on to 5 mostly general interest top journals avoids all that.

The pig that I am - fries and taxes for free.

The Long Lost Brother of the 'enfariné' Bernard Arnaault? Marginal revolution with the farine !

I still get the red salute, not from Chine, these days - but my kids, specially, the one with GAR (lug)- bage. And Manu - le petit - as always is with me. The satellite state of Red Star.

Comme dit mon medecin ! Very constipated till the next 'deal'. But for my so many kids ill produced, une tradition francaise.

Or did you even mean departments?

Why are all the comments not in French? Some native slave of history needed to 'connect' it through white linkages !

My Friend, I hope you get it.

Then the editor of the Journal of Political Economy does this: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/business/economy/white-economists-black-lives-matter.html I don't use social media and often criticize social media, but it does serve one useful purpose: it exposes the racist views by folks who can't keep their racist views to themselves.

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