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Levy on papers at APSA

Jacob Levy on changing norms over paper distribution at APSA:

It seems to me that the switch from the Panel Paper Room to PROceedings online has resulted in a very dramatic reduction in the number of papers being circulated. It seems to me that there was a genuine strong norm in favor of bringing papers to the PPR in the old days— it was stated as a rule, and while some papers were too drafty to be circulated and some senior people didn’t bother, most papers were in there.

Now as I browse through the (terrible) PROceedings site … it seems to me that the modal number of papers per panel that are actually uploaded is zero. It also seems to me that this wasn’t true in the first few years after the switch— that is, the norm stuck for a little while but is now close to dead.

Explanations? Is it the terrible site, the worry about putting drafts online, some combination? Or am I hallucinating that there’s a phenomenon here at all?

My feeling is that it’s a combination of the unfriendliness of the site, and a Schelling-type death spiral - as people note that fewer people are putting the papers up online, they themselves are less likely to, prompting others to be less likely in turn etc etc.

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