Economists in the PITS?

IEW Working Paper No. 406

32 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2009 Last revised: 7 Jul 2009

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 28, 2009


Academic economists today are caught in a "Publication Impossibility Theorem System" or PITS. To further their careers, they are required to publish in A-journals, but for the vast majority this is impossible because there are few slots open in such journals. Such academic competition maybe useful to generate hard work, however, there may be serious negative consequences: the wrong output may be produced in an inefficient way, the wrong people may be selected, and losers may react in a harmful way. This paper suggests several ways to remedy this situation.

Keywords: Academia, economists, publication, journals, incentives, economic methodology

JEL Classification: A1, D02, I23

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Economists in the PITS? (May 28, 2009). IEW Working Paper No. 406, Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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