17 October 2010

What do economists do?

Stefan Dercon investigates….
Economists study the most important problems facing the world. At least that is what I thought.
Using data put together by Jishnu Das and Quy-Toan Do (at the World Bank), Stefan created this Wordle showing the countries which articles in the top 5 economics journals focus on.

There are actually 54 countries there but you can probably only read United States and United Kingdom.
Of course, this does not mean that there is a bias in the editorial policy of the top economics  journals. It is perfectly possible that those countries are not very interesting, or that those economists writing papers on these other economies are not very good or that they just don't submit to these journals. And I just saw a pretty pig flying outside my window.
Fortunately, development economics has plenty of good journals, such as the Journal of Development Economics.
This is the Wordle for JDE articles which are focused on one country:

Latin America is somewhat overrepresented with 30%, India gets 12%, China 11% and Africa 18%.
For more details about the data see here.

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