Prof. Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS) spoke last week at the sixth CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI6) in Geneva. This meeting assembles digital librarians from around the world as they discuss issues about the digital and open dissemination of research (open access).
Zimmermann’s talk discussed on how to engage a community in a research dissemination project by catering to the various incentives of its participants. By taking as example the RePEc Author Service he administers, he showed that one can push a major bibliographic project without any funding by letting everyone who benefits from it help out. This decentralization of the work has been critical to the success of RePEc.
The RePEc Author Service, managed by Prof. Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS) and, since 2005, hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn, has reached a major milestone with its 20,000th registered author. This service allows economists to create an online profile of their works to be used by other services such as IDEAS (also hosted by CLAS). It also allows authors to obtain monthly updates on the online popularity and newly discovered citations of their works.
To put things in perspective, the largest association in economics is the American Economic Association, which has 18,000 members, including many outside the United States. The RePEc Author Service has authors in all US states and 119 countries.
Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS) has recently guest-edited a special issue of Economic Analysis and Policy dedicated to the Economics of Open Access publishing. More and more journals are disseminating their content for free through the web, and the articles in this issue discuss why and how this trend is happening. In particular it highlights that publication costs are much lower once the print medium is abandoned and that financing models different from the traditional subscriptions are perfectly viable. Some articles cover the experience of some open access journal editors, others discuss the publishing industry or the consequences of open access.
The journal can be viewed here, and the special issue can be directly accessed from this RePEc blog post.
Current Ph.D. student Marina-Selini Katsaiti (IDEAS) and recent graduates Philip Shaw (IDEAS) and Marius Jurgilas (IDEAS), all advised by Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS), will publish a paper entitled “Corruption and Growth Under Weak Identification” in the journal Economic Inquiry. This paper reviews the recent literature in econometrics that focuses on identification and statistical inference when a researcher has weakly correlated instruments variables. In light of this recent theoretical work in econometrics, it analyses a highly influential article in economics and finds that the original results of this article are misleading. It then updates the original analysis and shows that there is no relationship between corruption and economic growth or investment, which is contrary to the results of the original article. The paper also suggests that the problem of weak instruments in the corruption literature may not be isolated to a single article but instead the entire empirical literature that tries to find a causal link between corruption and economic growth or investment. The paper contributes also to the literature by demonstrating how researchers can “deal” with the problem of weak identification.
As part of his sabbatical semester last Fall, Professor Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS) has given a series of talks through Europe, talking about various aspects of his research. At the Swiss National Bank, Universität St. Gallen, Banque de France and Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), he talked about the impact of bank capital regulation on credit. At the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva and Université de Toulouse, he talked about the interaction of malaria with the economy. At Universität Konstanz, he discussed his work with RePEc. He also gave five lectures on macroeconomic theory with heterogeneous agents at the Paris School of Economics.
In addition to his travels in Europe, Prof. Zimmermann spent several weeks at the University of California Santa Barbara, giving three lectures on the topics above and gave another talk at York University of his work on the economics of malaria.