On the Causal Effect of Fame on Citations
23 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020 Last revised: 23 Nov 2020
Date Written: March 31, 2020
Papers published in economics journals whose first authors are famous have more citations than papers whose second or third authors are famous. As a paper ages, its citation rate varies most with variation in the fame of the first author and less so with the fame of second and third authors. Author order is alphabetical so these patterns are unrelated to underlying quality. The magnitudes we find are large: a three-author paper written by the most prolific author in economics and his two research assistants would receive, on average, more than double the citations if the prolific author were first rather than second or third. The effect is especially pronounced in three, rather than two, author papers, suggesting that burying a famous author in the “et al” reduces citations even further.
Keywords: Citations, Publication, Measurement, Fame
JEL Classification: J0, J7, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation