Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Development and Interdisciplinarity: A Citation Analysis

Mitra, Sophie and Palmer, Michael and Vuong, Vu (2020): Development and Interdisciplinarity: A Citation Analysis. Forthcoming in: World Development

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Development is often defined as an inherently interdisciplinary field of study. Yet there has been limited examination of this interdisciplinarity. Using Web of Science data, we present citation patterns since 1990 between leading journals of two fields of development, development economics and development studies, and other social science disciplines (economics, geography, political science and sociology). We find negligible interdisciplinary interactions in development, with the bulk of cross-disciplinary citations taking place between development economics, development studies, and economics. There is an increasing trend since the mid 2000s in the number of citations between development economics and development studies. We explore a number of potential contributing factors and conclude that the most likely explanation is rising numbers of economists publishing in development studies journals in response to increasing relative competition in development economics journals. While there appears to be growing communications among different fields of development cross-citation rates remain low at two-three percent of total citations and are driven by select journals. Overall, results suggest that development is not an interdisciplinary field of study as measured by flows of citations.

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