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Citation Patterns in Economics and Beyond

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In this paper we comparatively explore three claims concerning the disciplinary character of economics by means of citation analysis.

The three claims under study are: (1) economics exhibits strong forms of institutional stratification and, as a byproduct, a rather pronounced internal hierarchy, (2) economists strongly conform to institutional incentives and (3) modern mainstream economics is a largely selfreferential intellectual project mostly inaccessible to disciplinary or paradigmatic outsiders. The validity of these claims is assessed by means of an interdisciplinary comparison of citation patterns aiming to identify peculiar characteristics of economic discourse. In doing so, we emphasize that citation data can always be interpreted in different ways, thereby focusing on the contrast between a ‘cognitive’ and an ‘evaluative’ approach towards citation data.

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