Research / BFI Working PaperFeb 28, 2022

Statistical Uncertainty in the Ranking of Journals and Universities

Magne Mogstad, Joseph P. Romano, Azeem Shaikh, Daniel Wilhelm

Economists are obsessed with rankings of institutions, journals, or scholars according to the value of some feature of interest. These rankings are invariably computed using estimates rather than the true values of such features. As a result, there may be considerable uncertainty concerning the ranks. In this paper, we consider the problem of accounting for such uncertainty by constructing confidence sets for the ranks. We consider both the problem of constructing marginal confidence sets for the rank of, say, a particular journal as well as simultaneous confidence sets for the ranks of all journals. We apply these confidence sets to draw inferences about uncertainty in the ranking of economics journals and universities by impact factors.

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