Working with turkeys

Kevin Fox (UNSW) and Ross Milbourne (UTS) have a new paper in Australian Economic Papers entitled “Is it harder to soar with eagles when you work with turkeys?” Apparently, the answer is ‘yes.’

Lucas (1988) modelled the productivity of workers as being a function not only of their own human capital but the human capital of the people with whom they work. Using individual data, this paper investigates whether there are such human-capital externalities. In particular, we look at the research output of academic economists, and ask whether research-output productivity is affected not just by individual human-capital factors, and institutional and funding factors, but additionally by productivity of those in the same academic department. Our findings are also of relevance to the literature on peer-group effects and the ‘Bell Curve’ debate.

And this from the current Vice Chancellor of UTS. According to the study, the recent move of Michael Keane from Yale to UTS under a Federation Fellowship will surely reduce any average turkey share there and have a positive spillover on others.

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