Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ranking Economics Institutions Applying a Frontier Approach to RePEc data

Back in 2010 I posted that the RePEc ranking of economics institutions needed to be adjusted by size. Better quality institutions do tend to be bigger but as RePEc just sums up publications, citations etc rather than averaging them larger institutions also get a higher RePEc ranking even if they aren't actually better quality. In the post, I suggested using a frontier approach. The idea is that the average faculty member at Harvard perhaps is similar to one at Chicago (I haven't checked this), but because Harvard is bigger it is better. So, looking at average scores of faculty members might produce a misleading ranking.

A reader sent me an e-mail query about an updated version of this and I thought that was a good idea for a new post:

The chart shows the RePEc rank for 190 top-level institutions (I deleted NBER) against their number of registered people on RePEc. I drew a concave frontier by hand. How have things changed since 2010? The main change is the appearance of Stanford on the frontier. Also, the Federal Reserve is now listed as one institution, so the Minnesota Fed has dropped off the frontier. Dartmouth is now slightly behind the frontier and Tel Aviv looks like it has also lost a little ground. Otherwise, not much has changed.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Annual Review 2016

I've been doing these annual reviews since 2011. They're mainly an exercise for me to see what I accomplished and what I didn't in the previous year. The big change this year mentioned at the end of last year's review is that we had a baby in February. I ended up taking six weeks leave around the birth. Since then, I've been trying to adjust my work-life balance :) I'm trying to get more efficient at doing things, dropping things that aren't really necessary to do, trying to schedule work time more. None of these things are that easy, at least for me. It's mainly anything that isn't work, baby, or housework that gets squeezed out. I'm still director of the International and Development Economics program at Crawford. I will now be director for the next six months at least, after which I hope to pass this role on to someone new, but they haven't been identified as yet. During my time as director, we've made less progress on various initiatives than I would have liked due to internal ANU politics.

The highlights for the year were being elected a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. I attended the annual ASSA symposium and other events in November where new fellows are welcomed. Also, our consortium was awarded a five year contract by the UK DFID to research energy for economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In particular, we are looking at how electrification can best enhance development. Also in November I attended the "Research and Matchmaking Conference" in Washington DC, where we presented the results of our first year of research and interacted with policymakers from developing countries and others. In the first year, the main activity has been writing 18 state of knowledge papers. I've have writing a paper with Stephan Bruns and Paul Burke on macroeconomic evidence for the effects of electrification on development.

Work got started on our ARC DP16 project. Zsuzsanna Csereklyei joined us at ANU as a research fellow working on the project. She is focusing on the technology diffusion theme. 

I published a record number of journal articles - in total, eight! Somehow a lot of things just happened to get published this year. It's easiest just to list them with links to the blogposts that discuss them:

Ma C. and D. I. Stern (2016) Long-run estimates of interfuel and interfactor elasticities, Resource and Energy Economics 46, 114-130. Working Paper Version | Blogpost

Bruns S. B. and D. I. Stern (2016) Research assessment using early citation information, Scientometrics 108, 917-935. Working Paper Version | Blogpost

Stern D. I. and D. Zha (2016) Economic growth and particulate pollution concentrations in China, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies 18, 327-338. Working Paper Version | Blogpost | Erratum

Lu Y. and D. I. Stern (2016) Substitutability and the cost of climate mitigation policy, Environmental and Resource Economics 64, 81-107. Working Paper Version | Blogpost

Sanchez L. F. and D. I. Stern (2016) Drivers of industrial and non-industrial greenhouse gas emissions, Ecological Economics 124, 17-24. Working Paper Version | Blogpost 1 | Blogpost 2

Costanza R., R. B. Howarth, I. Kubiszewski, S. Liu, C. Ma, G. Plumecocq, and D. I. Stern (2016) Influential publications in ecological economics revisited, Ecological Economics. Working Paper Version | Blogpost

Csereklyei Z., M. d. M. Rubio Varas, and D. I. Stern (2016) Energy and economic growth: The stylized facts, Energy Journal 37(2), 223-255. Working Paper Version | Blogpost

Halkos G. E., D. I. Stern, and N. G. Tzeremes (2016) Population, economic growth and regional environmental inefficiency: Evidence from U.S. states, Journal of Cleaner Production 112(5), 4288-4295. Blogpost

I also updated my article on economic growth and energy in the Elsevier Online Reference Materials. Citations shot past 11,000 on Google Scholar (h-index: 42) and will total more than 12,000 when all citations for this year are eventually collected by Google.

I have two papers currently under review (also two book chapters, see below). First, there is a survey paper on the environmental Kuznets curve, which I have now resubmitted to a special issue of the Journal of Bioeconomics that emerged from the workshop at Griffith University I attended last year. So, this should be published soon. Then there is our original paper on the growth rates approach to modeling the emissions-income relationship. I have resubmitted our paper on global particulate concentrations. We have a revise and resubmit for the paper on meta-Granger causality testing.

Some other projects are nearing completion. One is a new climate econometrics paper. Stephan Bruns presented our preliminary results at the Climate Econometrics Conference in Aarhus in October. I posted some excerpts from our literature review on this blog. We are also still wrapping up work on our paper on the British Industrial Revolution. Last year, I forecast we would soon have a working paper out on it. I'll have to make that forecast again! We also want to turn our state of knowledge paper for the EEG project into a publication. Of course, there is a lot more work at much earlier stages. For example, this week so far I've been working on a paper with Akshay Shanker on explaining why energy intensity has declined in countries such as the US over time. It's not as obvious as you might think! We've been working on this now and then for a couple of years, but now it looks much more like we will really complete the paper. I'm going to see if I can complete a draft in the next day or so of a paper following up from this blogpost. And, of course, there are the DP16 projects on energy efficiency and there are some long-term projects that I really want to return to and finish, but other things keep getting in the way.

My first PhD student here at Crawford, Alrick Campbell, submitted his PhD thesis in early December. It consists of four papers on energy issues in small island developing states (SIDS). The first of these looks at the effect of oil price shocks on economic growth in SIDS using a global vector autoregression model. He finds that oil price shocks have only small negative effects on most oil importing SIDS and positive effects, as expected, on oil exporting countries such as Bahrain or Trinidad and Tobago. These results are interesting as many of the former economies are fairly dependent on imported oil and would be expected to be susceptible to oil price shocks. The remaining papers estimate elasticities of demand for electricity for various sectors in Jamaica, look at the choice between revenue and price caps for the regulation of electric utilities, and benchmark the efficiency of SIDS electric utilities using a data envelopment analysis. My other student (I'm also on a couple of other PhD panels), Panittra Ninpanit, presented her thesis proposal seminar.

Because of the baby, I didn't travel as much this year as I have in previous years. I gave online keynote presentations at conferences in Paris and at Sussex University on energy and growth.  In September and October I visited Deakin U., Curtin U., UWA, and Swinburne U. to give seminars. Then in late October and early November I visited the US for a week to attend the EEG conference in Washington DC, mentioned above.

I only taught one course this year - Energy Economics. I got a reduction in teaching as compensation for being program director instead of receiving extra pay. As a result, I didn't teach in the first semester, which was when the baby arrived.

Total number of blogposts this year was slightly less last year, averaging three per month. As my Twitter followers increase in number - now over  500 - I find that readership of my blog is becoming very spiky with a hundreds of readers visiting after I make a post and tweet it and then falling back to a low background level of 20-30 visits per day. The most popular post this year was Corrections to the Global Temperature Record with about 650 reads.

Looking forward to 2017, it is easy to predict a few things that will happen that are already organized:

1. Alessio Moneta and Stephan Bruns will visit Canberra in late February/early March to work on the rebound effect component of the ARC DP16 project.
2. I will visit Brisbane for the AARES annual conference and Singapore for the IAEE international conference. I just submitted an abstract for the latter, but it's pretty likely I'll go, especially as there are now direct flights from Canberra to Singapore.
3. I will be the convener for Masters Research Essay in the first semester and again teach Energy Economics in the second semester.
4. I will publish two book chapters on the environmental Kuznets curve in the following collections: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Economics and The Companion to Environmental Studies (Routledge).

In the realm of the less predictable, for the first time in five years I actually applied for a job. I had a Skype interview for it a two weeks ago. I wasn't really looking for a job but just saw an attractive advertisement that a former Crawford PhD student sent me. No idea if anything more will come of that...