Competition in research activity among economic departments: Evidence by negative spatial autocorrelation

J.Paul Elhorst, Katarina Zigova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
352 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the prevalence of both competitive forces and patterns of collaboration within academic communities, studies on research productivity generally treat universities as independent entities. By exploring the research productivity of all academic economists employed at 81 universities and 17 economic research institutes in Austria, Germany, and German-speaking Switzerland, this study finds that a research unit’s productivity negatively depends on that of neighboring research units weighted by inverse distances. This significant and exemplary robust negative relationship is compatible with the notion of competition for priority of discovery among individual researchers and the universities that employ them, and with the notion that the willingness to relocate decreases with distance. In addition, the empirical results support the hypotheses that collaboration and the existence of economies of scale increase research productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi: 10.1111/gean.12031
Pages (from-to)104-125
Number of pages22
JournalGeographical Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2014


  • Research productivity
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Negative spatial autocorrelation
  • Geo-referenced point data

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