The life cycle of scholars and papers in economics - the `citation death tax'
Source: Applied Economics, Volume 43, Number 27, 1 November 2011 , pp. 4135-4148(14)
Abstract:The information content of academic citations is a subject to debate. This article views premature death as a tragic `natural experiment', outlining a methodology identifying the `citation death tax' - the impact of the death of productive economists on the patterns of their citations. We rely on a sample of 428 papers written by 16 well-known economists who died well before retirement, during the period 1975 to 1997. The news is mixed: for half of the sample, we identify a large and significant `citation death tax' for the average paper written by these scholars. For these authors, the estimated average missing citations per paper attributed to premature death ranges from 40% to 140% (the overall average is about 90%), and the annual costs of lost citations per paper are in the range 3-14%. Hence, a paper written 10 years before the author's death avoids a citation cost that varies between 30% and 140%. For the other half of the sample, there is no citation death tax; and for two Nobel Prize-calibre scholars in this second group, Black and Tversky, citations took off over time, reflecting the growing recognitions of their seminal works.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics,UCSC and the National Bureau of Economic Research, University of California, Santa CruzCA 95064, USA 2: Department of Economics,University of California, Santa CruzCA 95064, USA
Publication date: 2011-11-01