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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Does Where Your Name Sits In The Alphabet Affect Academic Career Success?

Does the first letter of your surname's position in the alphabet affect your career success? According to a study by Liran Einav and Leeat Yariv (from Stanford & Caltech, respectively), the answer seems to be yes, at least for economists:
We begin our analysis with data on faculty in all top 35 U.S. economics departments. Faculty with earlier surname initials are significantly more likely to receive tenure at top ten economics departments, are significantly more likely to become fellows of the Econometric Society, and, to a lesser extent, are more likely to receive the Clark Medal and the Nobel Prize. These statistically significant differences remain the same even after we control for country of origin, ethnicity, religion or departmental fixed effects. All these effects gradually fade as we increase the sample to include our entire set of top 35 departments.

We suspect the "“alphabetical discrimination"” reported in this paper is linked to the norm in the economics profession prescribing alphabetical ordering of credits on coauthored publications. As a test, we replicate our analysis for faculty in the top 35 U.S. psychology departments, for which coauthorships are not normatively ordered alphabetically. We find no relationship between alphabetical placement and tenure status in psychology.
Read the whole thing here.

It reminds me of back in the day when I used to do some tax and bookeeping services. Of course, I choose the name AAA Business Services.

From now on, call me Arvin Arpad Aardvark.

HT: Smart Graduate School Applications.

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