Posted: 16 Aug 1999
This paper provides a theoretical explanation for the persistent use of alphabetical name orderings on academic papers in economics. In a context in which market participants are interested in evaluating the relative individual contribution of authors, it is an equilibrium for papers to use alphabetical ordering. Moreover, it is never an equilibrium for authors always to be listed in order of relative contribution. In fact, we show via an example that the alphabetical name ordering norm may be the unique equilibrium, although multiple equilibria are also possible. Finally, we characterize the welfare properties of the noncooperative equilibrium and show it to produce research of lower quality than is optimal and than would be achieved if coauthors were forced to use name ordering to signal relative contribution.
JEL Classification: A11, D21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation