It's good to be first: Order bias in reading and citing NBER working papers

Daniel Feenberg, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, Jonathan Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


When choices are made from ordered lists, individuals can exhibit biases toward selecting certain options as a result of the ordering. We examine this phenomenon in the context of consumer response to the ordering of economics papers in an e-mail announcement issued by the NBER. We show that despite the effectively random list placement, papers listed first each week are about 30% more likely to be viewed, downloaded, and subsequently cited. We suggest that a model of ''skimming'' behavior, where individuals focus on the first few papers in the list due to time constraints, would be most consistent with our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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