Alphabetical Tyranny

ALPHABETICAL TYRANNY….Matt Yglesias has complained about this before for obvious reasons, but today Alex Tabarrok reports that alphabetical privilege is real ? in the world of economics, anyway:

A new paper (free, working version, Winter 06, JEP) demonstrates that…faculty members in top departments with surnames beginning with letters earlier in the alphabet are substantially more likely to be tenured, be fellows of the Econometrics Society, and even win Nobel prizes (let’s see, Arrow, Buchanan Coase…hmmm). No such effects are found in psychology where the alphabetical norm is not followed.

The “alphabetical norm” is the rule that coauthors on a paper are listed alphabetically, which results in only alphabetically privileged authors getting citation credits (everyone else is “et al”). The paper demonstrating the effects of this rule was written by Liran Einav and some other guy.

Is the same true in the blogosphere, where blogrolls are often arranged alphabetically? There’s a research project just waiting to happen here!

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