Monday, 20 April, 2015 | 16:30 | Applied Micro Research Seminar

Manuel Bagues, Ph.D. (Aalto U.) “Favoritism in Scientific Committees: Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Natural Experiment”

Manuel Bagues, Ph.D.

Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Authors: Manuel Bagues, Mauro Sylos Labini, and Natalia Zinovyeva

Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of connections in scientific committees. We use evidence from Italy, where candidates to Full and Associate Professor positions are evaluated in a nation-wide examination. In 2012 and 2013 these evaluations involved around 69,000 applications and 1,000 (randomly chosen) evaluators in all academic disciplines. The process is characterized by an unusual degree of transparency: all applications, evaluation criteria and individual assessments are publicized online. Nonetheless, the presence of a co-author or a colleague in the committee has a negative impact on the probability that potential candidates’ apply, perhaps because they have access to better information, and it has a positive impact on their overall chances of success. Interestingly, the magnitude of the connection premium does not depend on the quality of evaluators and is unaffected by the presence in the committee of a foreign expert.