Evaluating The Research Output Of Australian Universities' Economics Departments



This paper presents measures of the research output of Australian economics departments. Our study covers the 640 academic staff at rank Lecturer and above in the 27 Australian universities with economics departments containing eight or more staff in April 2002. We construct publication measures based on journal articles, which can be compared with weighted publication measures, and citation measures, which can be compared with the publication measures. Our aim is to identify the robustness of rankings to the choice of method, as well as to highlight differences in focus of departments’ research output. A striking feature of our measures is that the majority of economists in Australian university departments have done no research that has been published in a fairly long list of refereed journals over the last dozen years. They may publish in other outlets, but in any event their work is rarely cited. Thus, average research output is low because many academic economists in Australia do not view research as part of their job or, at least, suffer no penalty from failing to produce substantive evidence of research activity.