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A Case Study of Pluralism in Economics: The Heterodox Glass Ceiling in Italy

Marcella Corsi (), Carlo D'Ippoliti () and Giulia Zacchia

Review of Political Economy, 2018, vol. 30, issue 2, 172-189

Abstract: Quantitative measures of supposed scientific ‘quality’ (or ‘impact’) based on bibliometric indicators are used as the primary or exclusive tools of research evaluation in a growing number of countries. The negative impact of this method of evaluation on pluralism in economic teaching and research has been documented in Italy, France, Australia and the United Kingdom. We provide new evidence for Italy by investigating the CVs and publications of all candidates for the ‘national scientific qualification’, which is needed to access all tenured Italian academic positions. With respect to past evidence, we focus on the homologation of research topics and methods as well as the delegitimization of particular publication outlets. Our analysis has relevant implications internationally. First, research evaluation aimed at identifying ‘excellence’ often boils down to (as in the case of Italy) the adoption of rankings of supposedly top journals, which systematically discriminate against heterodox journals. Second, the legitimacy of academic research published in the form of books and book chapters must be reclaimed. Third, heterodox economists risk discrimination not so much because of their methods or policy recommendations, but because of the topics and research fields they investigate.

Date: 2018
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