Sunday, April 25, 2010

How Should We Adjust Economic Institution Rankings for Size?

RePEc provides a ranking of top level economics institutions as well as the number of authors at each institution. This ranking has been criticized online because it ranks MIT below the World Bank, NYU, and Columbia. Everyone knows that that isn't true. But how could we come up with a better ranking? If bigger institutions are better up to a point then it won't help us to either have the original data and compute a ranking on the basis of the average score of authors at those institutions. Nor will it help to use modeling approaches for ranked data to adjust the ranks for a standardized institution size.

I think it is obvious that size matters. French and Blanchflower make Dartmouth a very good economics institution for its size. On this chart:

You can see that Dartmouth is on the "frontier". So are the Minnesota Federal Reserve, Princeton, Chicago, and Harvard. MIT, Tel Aviv and UC Berkeley are just behind the frontier. But does this mean that the former 5 should be considered the top 5 quality institutions? OTOH, clearly ANU, Oxford, and the World Bank are a long way behind the quality frontier despite their size.

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