Economists in the Pits?

28 Pages Posted: 1 May 2009

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 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 this is impossible for the vast majority because there are few slots open in such journals. Such academic competition is held to provide the right incentives for hard work, but there may be serious negative consequences: the wrong output may be produced in an inefficient way, the wrong people may be selected, and the losers may react in a harmful way. The paper suggests several ways for improvement.

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

JEL Classification: A1, D02, I23

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Economists in the Pits? (March 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2594, Available at SSRN:

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

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

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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