The Matthew Effect in Economics Reconsidered

21 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014

See all articles by Daniel Birkmaier

Daniel Birkmaier

Technische Universität München (TUM) - Department of Economics

Klaus Wohlrabe

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Date Written: September 29, 2014

Abstract

We apply the test of Ijiri and Simon (1974) to a large data set of authors in economics. This test has been used by Tol (2009, 2013a) to identify a (within-author) Matthew effect for authors based on citations. We show that the test is quite sensitive to its underlying assumptions and identifies too often a potential Matthew effect. We propose an alternative test based on the pure form of Gibrat’s law. It states that stochastic proportionate citation growth, i.e. independent of its size, leads to a lognormal distribution. By using a one-sided Kolmogorov-Smirnov test we test for deviations from the lognormal distribution which we interpret as an indication of the Matthew effect. Using our large data set we also explore potential empirical characteristics of economists with a Matthew effect.

Keywords: Matthew Effect, Gibrat’s Law, Kolmogorov-Smirnov

JEL Classification: A120, A140

Suggested Citation

Birkmaier, Daniel and Wohlrabe, Klaus, The Matthew Effect in Economics Reconsidered (September 29, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4966. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2502821

Daniel Birkmaier

Technische Universität München (TUM) - Department of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstr. 28
Munich, 80539
Germany

Klaus Wohlrabe (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

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