The Reverse Matthew Effect: Catastrophe and Consequence in Scientific Teams

56 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2013 Last revised: 8 Oct 2014

See all articles by Ginger Zhe Jin

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Benjamin F. Jones

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Susan F. Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Brian Uzzi

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

Teamwork pervades modern economies, yet teamwork can make individual roles difficult to ascertain. In the sciences, the canonical "Matthew Effect" suggests that eminent team members garner credit for great works at the expense of less eminent team members. We study this phenomenon in reverse, investigating how damaging events, article retractions, affect citations to the authors' prior publications. We find that retractions impose little citation penalty on eminent coauthors, but less eminent coauthors face substantial citation declines, especially when teamed with an eminent author. This asymmetry suggests a "Reverse Matthew Effect" for team-produced catastrophes. A Bayesian model provides a candidate interpretation.

Suggested Citation

Jin, Ginger Zhe and Jones, Benjamin F. and Lu, Susan Feng and Uzzi, Brian, The Reverse Matthew Effect: Catastrophe and Consequence in Scientific Teams (October 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19489. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2336355

Ginger Zhe Jin (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3484 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Benjamin F. Jones

Northwestern University ( email )

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847-491-3177 (Phone)
847-467-1777 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Susan Feng Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/susanluhome/home

Brian Uzzi

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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