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Inside Job or Deep Impact? Using Extramural Citations to Assess Economic Scholarship, Journal of Economic Literature


Does academic economic research produce material of general scientific value, or do academic economists write only for peers? Is economics scholarship uniquely insular? We address these questions by quantifying interactions between economics and other disciplines. Changes in the influence of economic scholarship are measured here by the frequency with which other disciplines cite papers in economics journals. We document a clear rise in the extramural influence of economic research, while also showing that economics is increasingly likely to reference other social sciences. A breakdown of extramural citations by economics fields shows broad field influence. Differentiating between theoretical and empirical papers classified using machine learning, we see that much of the rise in economics' extramural influence reflects growth in citations to empirical work. This growth parallels an increase in the share of empirical cites within economics. At the same time, some disciplines that primarily cite economic theory have also recently increased citations of economics scholarship.




Ryan Hill, Joshua Angrist, Pierre Azoulay, Glenn Ellison, Susan Feng Lu

Date Published



Hill, Ryan, Joshua Angrist, Pierre Azoulay, Glenn Ellison, and Susan Feng Lu. 2020. Inside Job or Deep Impact? Using Extramural Citations to Assess Economic Scholarship. Journal of Economic Literature.(1): 3-52.


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