What's in a (Missing) Name? Status and Signaling in Open Standards Development
31 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 2008
How much are we influenced by an author's identity? If identity matters, is it because we have a "taste for status" or because it offers a useful shortcut - a signal that is correlated with the likely importance of their ideas? This paper presents evidence from a natural experiment that took place at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) - a community of engineers and computer scientists who develop the protocols used to run the Internet. The results suggest that IETF participants use authors' identity as a signal or filter, paying more attention to proposals from high-status authors, and this has a surprisingly large impact on publication outcomes. There is little evidence of a "taste" for status.
JEL Classification: L1, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation