Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 693: How Should Research Performance Be Measured? A Study of Swedish Economists

Magnus Henrekson () and Daniel Waldenström ()
Additional contact information
Magnus Henrekson: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Daniel Waldenström: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Billions of euros are allocated every year to university research. Increased specialisation and international integration of research and researchers has sharply raised the need for comparisons of performance across fields, institutions and individual researchers. However, there is still no consensus regarding how such rankings should be conducted and what output measures are appropriate to use. We rank all full professors in a particular discipline, economics, in one European nation using seven established, and some of them commonly used, measures of research performance. Our examination shows both that the rank order can vary greatly across measures, and that depending on the measure used the distribution of total research out-put is valued very differently. The renowned KMS measure in economics stands out among the measures analysed here. It exhibits the weakest correlation with the others used in our study. We conclude by giving advice to funding councils and others assessing research quality on how to think about the use of both quantitative and qualitative measures of performance.

Keywords: Impact of research; Ranking; Research productivity; Bibliometrics; Impact Factor

JEL-codes: A11; A14; B41

29 pages, March 4, 2008

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