Collaboration Incentives: Endogenous Selection into Single and Coauthorships by Surname Initial in Economics and Management

40 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2015 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018

David Ong

Peking University - HSBC Business School

Ho Fai Chan

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Yu Yang

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date Written: June 21, 2015

Abstract

Many prior studies suggest that default alphabetical ordering of coauthors in economics confers disproportionate professional advantages on those with an early surname initial because of the greater prominence it gives to the first author. However, these studies do not consider that authors select into coauthorship according to the incentives identified. We develop a model of endogenous selection into single and coauthorships around the principle that no one wants to be second author when they expect to provide the larger contribution (i.e., are of higher “quality”). We test it with authorship data from economics, with management (which does not use default alphabetical ordering) as a benchmark. We predict for economics that lower quality authors with early surnames would be less desirable coauthors, whereas higher quality authors with late surnames would have a lower desire to coauthor. Most desired are early initial authors of high quality, who are therefore advantaged in forming high-quality collaborations. The combined effect predicts citation rank increases with surname initial for single-authored papers and decreases for coauthored. We find both effects for economics when compared to management and absolutely. Our findings indicate that part of the advantage enjoyed by early surname initial authors in economics could be due to the higher ability among them having more incentive-compatible collaborators, rather than merely to greater prominence.

Keywords: alphabetic order effect, citations, coauthorships, endogenous teams, contests

JEL Classification: J01, J15, J44

Suggested Citation

Ong, David and Chan, Ho Fai and Torgler, Benno and Yang, Yu, Collaboration Incentives: Endogenous Selection into Single and Coauthorships by Surname Initial in Economics and Management (June 21, 2015). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 147, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.01.001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2557365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2557365

David Ong (Contact Author)

Peking University - HSBC Business School ( email )

Room 402, Building C
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055
China
86 137-6047-4054 (Phone)
86-755-2603-5344 (Fax)

Ho Fai Chan

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

CREMA

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

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

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Yu Yang

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

7481 Social Sciences Building
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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