NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ezra W. Zuckerman Sivan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Institutional Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2018Death of the Salesman, But Not the Sales Force: How Interested Promotion Skews Scientific Valuation
with Pierre Azoulay, J. Michael Wahlen: w24591
Whereas recent research has demonstrated how disinterested social validation may skew valuation in meritocratic domains, interested promotion may be at least as important a factor. As suggested by research on reputational entrepreneurship, a producer's death shifts promotion opportunities in two respects. First, it prevents the producer (or “salesman”) from engaging in promotional activity. Second, it also mobilizes others (the “sales force”) to step up their promotional activity on behalf of the deceased. Analysis of the impact made by the premature death of 720 elite life scientists on the citation trajectories of their articles indicates that death results in a long-lasting, positive increase in citation rates, relative to the trajectories for equivalent articles by counterfactual, stil...

Forthcoming, American Journal of Sociology

 
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