Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

The Gatekeepers of Economics. Gender Composition, Geographic Diversity, and Social Networking in the Editorial Boards of Economics Journals

Re Cristina, University of Siena
Baccini Alberto, University of Siena
Petrovich Eugenio, University of Siena

Quantitative approaches have recently gained increasing attention from historians of economic though, as they allow to reconstruct features of the recent history of economic thought that may remain invisible to standard qualitative methods (Duarte and Giraud 2016, Marcuzzo and Zacchia 2019). In this paper, we use quantitative tools to investigate the role of the gatekeepers of economics. Specifically, we focus on the members of Editorial boards and on the Editors-in-Chief of economics journals, as these figures play a key role in shaping both the direction of the economic sciences and the career of economists (Crane 1967). Our analysis is based on a unique database comprising all the 1,517 journals indexed in the database EconLit as of 2019. For each journal, we manually collected the names of the board members along with their affiliation, obtaining a database containing more than 44,000 members from more than 6000 institutions and 141 countries. These unique data allow to investigate the phenomenon of gatekeeping in contemporary economics on an unprecedented large scale. In particular, they allow to individuate the most influential gatekeepers, from the level of the individual scholar to that of the country, to check for cohesive groups of editors, and to unveil hierarchies in the journal environments. In fact, our results highlight some common traits of gatekeeping in economics, such as the dominance of an elite group composed mainly of men affiliated with US elite universities. Moreover, network analysis shows the presence of hidden hierarchies among journals and among Editors-in-Chief.


Keywords: Gatekeeping, Editorial boards, Network Analysis, Quantitative History of Economics

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