An Uneven Playing Field: Rankings and Ratings for Economics in ERA 2010


  • The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not represent the position of any organisation with which he is or has been associated. Helpful comments on earlier versions of this article were received from two anonymous referees of this journal, as well as Fred Lee, Paul Miller, Jim Taylor and participants at the 2011 meeting of the Association of Heterodox Economists. The author is solely responsible for any errors or omissions.

Correspondence: Centre for Research in Applied Economics, School of Economics and Finance, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia. Email:


In the evaluation of research quality conducted under Excellence in Research for Australia 2010, the sub-disciplines of econometrics and theory were rated more highly than the sub-disciplines of applied economics and other economics. The rating in each sub-discipline was benchmarked against a world standard, so the results suggest that Australian economists produce relatively better econometric or theory research than applied or other economics research. However, closer examination of the processes on which the ratings were based suggests built-in biases that favour theory and econometric research over applied and other economics research, leaving the relative quality of research in the various sub-disciplines open to question.