Death of the salesman but not the sales force: how interested promotion skews scientific valuation
Author(s)Azoulay, Pierre; Wahlen, Jesse Michael; Zuckerman Sivan, Ezra W.
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Whereas research has demonstrated how social cues appearing as disinterested social validation can skew valuation processes, interested promotion may be at least as important. This factor is examined here via the premature death of 720 elite life scientists. Especially when scientists are young and their articles have received little attention, their deaths stimulate a long-lasting, positive increase in citation rates, relative to trajectories for equivalent articles authored by counterfactual (i.e., still-living) scientists. These patterns seem largely explained by a spike in posthumous recognition efforts by the deceased scientists’ associates. The upshot is clear evidence of informational inefficiency, which derives from the challenges of absorbing the massive volume of research produced by the scientific community and from its ambivalence about the norm of disinterestedness.
DepartmentSloan School of Management
American Journal of Sociology
University of Chicago Press
Azoulay, Pierre, J. Michael Wahlen, and Ezra W. Zuckerman Sivan. “Death of the salesman but not the sales force: how interested promotion skews scientific valuation.” American Journal of Sociology 125 (2019): 786-845 © 2019 The Author(s)
Final published version