Informal Intellectual Collaboration with Central Colleagues

68 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2016 Last revised: 19 Jun 2017

Co-Pierre Georg

Deutsche Bundesbank; University of Cape Town (UCT)

Daniel Opolot

University of Cape Town

Michael E. Rose

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Date Written: June 18, 2017

Abstract

When preparing a research article, academics engage in informal intellectual collaboration by asking their colleagues for feedback. This collaboration gives rise to a social network between academics. We study whether informal intellectual collaboration with an academic who is more central in this social network results in a research article having higher scientific impact. To address the well-known reflection problem in estimating network effects, we use the assignment of discussants at NBER summer institutes as a quasi-natural experiment. We show that manuscripts discussed by a discussant with a 10% higher than average Bonacich centrality rank results in 1.4% more citations and a 5% higher probability that an article is published in a top journal. To illustrate our results, we develop a structural model in which a positive externality from intellectual collaboration implies that collaborating with a more central colleague results in larger scientific impact of the research article.

Keywords: Informal intellectual collaboration, social network, scientific impact, centrality

JEL Classification: O33, A14, D83, G00

Suggested Citation

Georg, Co-Pierre and Opolot, Daniel and Rose, Michael E., Informal Intellectual Collaboration with Central Colleagues (June 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2877586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2877586

Co-Pierre Georg (Contact Author)

Deutsche Bundesbank ( email )

Wilhelm-Epstein-Str. 14
D-60431 Frankfurt/Main
Germany

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

Daniel Opolot

University of Cape Town ( email )

3rd Floor, leslie Commerce Building
Engineering Mall, Upper Campus
Cape Town, Western Cape 8000
South Africa

Michael E. Rose

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, 7701
South Africa

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