Do we need highly cited departmental chairs?

Yes we do. Say the trio Amanda Goodall, John McDowell, Larry Singel in this voxeu column.

They help improve the overall reputation of the department.

Much of human knowledge is produced in the world’s university departments, yet little is known about how these hundreds of thousands of departments are best organised and led. This column explores the association between the personal research output of a department head and the department’s subsequent performance. Results suggest that if a department wants to improve its reputation in the world, then the chair should be a highly cited researcher.

But then this is at best going to be for a short time. What matters more is what the cited researcher does as a department chair. Does he/she lead the way  to improve the performance of the dept as a whole or just sits pretty on the laurels and newly found acclaim?

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