Do Economics Departments Improve After They Appoint a Top Scholar as Chairperson? – Kyklos
There has been almost no research into what makes an effective chairperson in a university department. This paper constructs a historical longitudinal dataset on economics departments in 58 US research universities. It documents evidence that a department’s research output tendsto improve substantially when the incoming department Chair is himself or herself an outstanding scholar (in particular, is highly cited). The analysis adjusts for a set of other possible influences, including the standing of the department, university resources, the previous Chair, the trend in the department’s productivity, and time-lags. Possible interpretations, and implications for future research, are discussed.