Editorial favoritism in the field of laboratory experimental economics (RM/20/014-revised-)

Janis Cloos, Matthias Greiff, Hannes Rusch

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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We examine scientific quality and editorial favoritism in the field of experimental economics. We use a novel data set containing all original research papers (N=569) that exclusively used laboratory experiments for data generation and were published in the American Economic Review (AER), Experimental Economics (EE), or the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA) between 1998 and 2018. Several proxies for scientific quality indicate that experiments conducted in Europe are of higher quality than experiments conducted in the US: European experiments rely on larger numbers of participants as well as participants per treatment and receive more citations. For the AER and the JEEA, but not for EE, we find that papers authored by economists with social ties to the editors receive significantly fewer citations in the years following publication. Detailed analyses using a novel dynamic and continuous measure of the co-authorship distance between editors and authors imply that authors at longer distances to editors have to write papers of higher quality in order to get published in the AER and the JEEA. We find no evidence that this ‘uphill battle’ is associated with geographical distance.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMaastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2021

Publication series

SeriesGSBE Research Memoranda

JEL classifications

  • a11 - "Role of Economics; Role of Economists"
  • a14 - Sociology of Economics
  • c90 - Design of Experiments: General
  • i23 - Higher Education and Research Institutions


  • laboratory experiments
  • favoritism
  • Methodological standards
  • network effects


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