Archive for the ‘American Economic Review’ Category

Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation

September 9, 2011 Comments off

Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation (PDF)
Source: American Economic Review (via Daniel S. Hamermesh)

Major League Baseball umpires express their racial/ethnic preferences when they evaluate pitchers. Strikes are called less often if the umpire and pitcher do not match race/ethnicity, but mainly where there is little scrutiny of umpires. Pitchers understand the incentives and throw pitches that allow umpires less subjective judgment (e.g., fastballs over home plate) when they anticipate bias. These direct and indirect effects bias performance measures of minorities downward. The results suggest how discrimination alters discriminated groups’ behavior generally. They imply that biases in measured productivity must be accounted for in generating measures of wage discrimination

Hat tip: PW

100 Years of the American Economic Review: The Top 20 Articles

March 1, 2011 Comments off

100 Years of the American Economic Review: The Top 20 Articles (PDF)
Source: America Economic Review

The Top 20 Committee, consisting of Kenneth J. Arrow, B. Douglas Bernheim, Martin S. Feldstein, Daniel L. McFadden, James M. Poterba, and Robert M. Solow, was appointed by Robert Moffitt with the task of selecting the “Top 20” articles published in the American Economic Review during its first hundred years. We decided against trying to define formally the criteria for inclusion: they surely comprise sheer intellectual quality, influence on the ideas and practices of economists, and general significance or breadth; but it would be fruitless to try to specify the marginal rates of substitution among these and other qualities. We were looking for 20 admirable and important articles.

As a starting point we used citation counts and numbers of searches in JSTOR. This is obviously important and relevant information, but not decisive on its own. Citation counts are biased in favor of subfields of economics with the largest populations. There is also a bias in favor of moderately recent articles, if only because the number of potential readers and writers has been increasing in time; very recent articles suffer from the fact that citations build up over time. In any case we were expected to use our judgment about quality and significance. So we used the citation and JSTOR data only to give us a large group of eligibles. We worried especially about overlooking articles in the very early days of the AER, some by great names in the history of economics. But we found, just to take one striking example, that although Irving Fisher published several articles in the journal, they were all minor or ephemeral pieces.

In the event, our early ballots showed an encouraging unanimity or near-unanimity, especially about the leading candidates. We very quickly converged on the Top 15 articles. There were occasional differences of opinion, only to be expected from a group with diverse interests, as we filled in the remaining three to five places. Here is our final list, arranged alphabetically, along with a brief reminder about each. There are few, if any, surprises.

Includes links to papers on the list.


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