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Rose,  Michael
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Rose, M., George, C.-P., & Opolot, D. C. (2020). Discussants. Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper, No. 20-19.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-70A4-1
We study the role of informal collaboration in academic knowledge production. Our focus is on published papers presented at similar workshops at the NBER Summer Institutes. Though not random, our setting is conducive to studying the role of informal collaboration in academic knowledge production. Papers are of comparable quality and the workshops are otherwise similar. Even among a set of papers that is highly selected on expected quality, discussants matter for top journal publication. Conditional on having a discussant, a paper’s citation count increases in the discussant’s prolificness. Our findings support the existence of quality-improving channels through which discussants improve the inherent quality of a paper. Conversely, using social network analysis we rule out a diffusion channel through which citations accumulate because discussants diffuse information about the paper within their social network.