Concentration in Publishing at Top-Tier Business Journals: Evidence and Potential Explanations

Posted: 24 May 2007 Last revised: 22 Oct 2011

See all articles by Edward P. Swanson

Edward P. Swanson

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School; Mays Business School, Texas A&M University

Christopher J. Wolfe

Texas A&M University - Department of Accounting

Asghar Zardkoohi

Texas A&M University - Department of Management

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Abstract

We first investigate how articles are distributed among universities in a set of 14 highly ranked academic business journals over the period 1990-2002. We find the top publishing schools in accounting and finance supply a greater portion of their discipline's major journal articles than in management or marketing. Much of the concentration in accounting occurs at privately sponsored journals, where faculty at private (public) schools publish a relatively high (low) portion of the articles. When we examine changes in concentration over 1990-2002, we find a temporal decrease for finance and management, no change in marketing, but an increase for accounting.

Next, we investigate how articles are distributed among individuals. We find the following: 1) substantially fewer accounting faculty publish in a major journal; 2) the average number of articles by accounting faculty who publish at least once exceeds that of finance, management or marketing; and 3) successful accounting publishers are more likely to be affiliated with highly ranked research universities or private schools. We then examine if economic consequences arise from this concentration and find evidence of lower promotion rates and salary increases for accounting full professors.

We propose four factors that could explain the discipline differences in concentration: Two factors, area specialization and professional networks, can explain why privately sponsored journals are more concentrated than association journals and why faculty affiliated with private universities author a large portion of the articles published by the privately sponsored journals. The two other factors, costly referee demands and concentration of research talent among select schools, would affect concentration at association and privately sponsored accounting journals about equally. All four factors likely contribute to high concentration in accounting. In the conclusion, we discuss measures that could be undertaken if the members of a discipline decide that concentration should be reduced.

Keywords: Publishing, Promotion, Journal Rankings, Accounting Research

JEL Classification: M40

Suggested Citation

Swanson, Edward P. and Wolfe, Christopher J. and Zardkoohi, Asghar, Concentration in Publishing at Top-Tier Business Journals: Evidence and Potential Explanations. Contemporary Accounting Research, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 1255-1289, Winter. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=988563

Edward P. Swanson (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States
979-845-8970 (Phone)
979-845-0028 (Fax)

Mays Business School, Texas A&M University ( email )

Wehner, MS 4353
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States
979-845-5014 (Phone)
979-845-0028 (Fax)

Christopher J. Wolfe

Texas A&M University - Department of Accounting ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4353
United States

Asghar Zardkoohi

Texas A&M University - Department of Management ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States
919-845-2043 (Phone)
919-845-9641 (Fax)

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