, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 1207–1225 | Cite as

Rise of multi-authored papers in economics: Demise of the ‘lone star’ and why?

  • Lukas Kuld
  • John O’Hagan


This paper builds on previous work by reviewing the key literature relating to the rise in co-authorship in economics and by presenting further new evidence on several features of co-authorship in articles in economic journals. The empirical analysis draws on around 175,000 articles in the top 255 journals, over the period 1996–2014. The rises in quarto-plus and cross-country co-authored papers are striking, as are the differences in citations per article and citations per author. There is evidence of an alphabetical ordering of authors as the standard in co-authored papers in top journals with no downward trend evident over time. A correlation between co-authorship and career stage is observed with young authors publishing significantly more solo-authored articles.


Co-authorship  Individual contribution Academic economic research 

JEL Classification

A14 D85 I23 O33 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees, and in particular the first, for extensive and helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Lukas Kuld also acknowledges the generous support by a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council.


  1. Agrawal, A., & Goldfarb, A. (2008). Restructuring research: Communication costs and the democratization of university innovation. American Economic Review, 98(4), 1578–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett, A. H., Ault, R. W., & Kaserman, D. L. (1988). The rising incidence of co-authorship in economics: Further evidence. Review of Economics and Statistics, 70, 539–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Card, D., & DellaVigna, S. (2013). Nine facts about top journals in economics. Journal of Economic Literature, 51(1), 144–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Card, D., & DellaVigna, S. (2014). Page limits on economics articles: Evidence from two journals. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(3), 149–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Catalini, C., Fons-Rosen, C., & Gaule, P. (2016). Did cheaper flights change the direction of science? CEPR Discussion Paper 11252.Google Scholar
  6. Fafchamps, M., van der Leij, M. J., & Goyal, S. (2010). Matching and network effects. Journal of the European Economic Association, 8(1), 203–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hamermesh, D. S. (2013). Six decades of top economics publishing: Who and how? Journal of Economic Literature, 51(1), 162–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Henriksen, D. (2016). The rise in co-authorship in the social sciences (1980–2013). Scientometrics, 107(2), 455–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hudson, J. (1996). Trends in multi-authored papers in economics. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(3), 153–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jones, B. F. (2009). The burden of knowledge and the “death of the renaissance man”: Is innovation getting harder? The Review of Economic Studies, 76(1), 283–317.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. Kalaitzidakis, P., Mamuneas, T. P., & Stengos, T. (2011). An updated ranking of academic journals in economics. Canadian Journal of Economics, 44(4), 1525–1538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kuld, L. (2017). The university as a local idea space: Benefits from research links. Working paper, Trinity College Dublin.Google Scholar
  13. McDowell, J. M., & Michael, M. (1983). The determinants of co-authorship: An analysis of the economics literature. Review of Economics and Statistics, 65, 155–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Medoff, M. H. (2003). Collaboration and the quality of economics research. Labour Economics, 10(5), 597–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Moosa, I. A. (2017). Citations, journal ranking and multiple authorships: Evidence based on the top 300 papers in economics. Applied Economics Letters, 24(3), 175–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nowell, C., & Grijalva, T. (2011). Trends in co-authorship in economics since 1985. Applied Economics, 43(28), 4369–4375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Önder, A. S., & Schweitzer, S. (2016). Catching up or falling behind? Promising changes and persistent patterns across cohorts of economics PhDs in German-speaking countries from 1991 to 2008. Working paper, University of Bayreuth.Google Scholar
  18. Ossenblok, T. L., Verleysen, F. T., & Engels, T. C. (2014). Coauthorship of journal articles and book chapters in the social sciences and humanities (2000–2010). Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(5), 882–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Osterloh, M., & Frey, B. S. (2014). Academic rankings between the ‘republic of science’ and ‘new public management’. In A.Lanteri, & J. Vromen (Eds.), The economics of economists, pages 77 – 103. CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rath, K., & Wohlrabe, K. (2016). Recent trends in co-authorship in economics: Evidence from RePEc. Applied Economics Letters, 23(12), 897–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rosenblat, T. S., & Mobius, M. M. (2004). Getting closer or drifting apart? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119(3), 971.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  22. Sarsons, H. (2017a). Recognition for group work. Working paper.Google Scholar
  23. Sarsons, H. (2017b). Recognition for group work: Gender differences in academia. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 107(5), 141–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sauer, R. D. (1988). Estimates of the returns to quality and coauthorship in economic academia. Journal of Political Economy, 96(4), 855–866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sommer, V., & Wohlrabe, K. (2017). Citations, journal ranking and multiple authorships reconsidered: Evidence from almost one million articles. Applied Economics Letters, 24(11), 809–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wuchty, S., Jones, B. F., & Uzzi, B. (2007). The increasing dominance of teams in production of knowledge. Science, 316(5827), 1036–1039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations