Some parts of our world, such as academia, rely heavily on prestige to allocate resources and effort; individuals have a lot of freedom to choose topics, and are mainly rewarded for seeming impressive to others. I’ve talked before about how
Different disciplines have very different standards for what a "good" number of publications is. Producing n publications per year might be very respectable in one discipline but laughably unproductive in another.
People within a discipline are better informed about what a given publication rate says about the quality of the academic producing at that rate.
Maybe of interest: I did a model more or less like this one, of prestige among people with varying abilities. There are indeed has many equilibria in the model, some relatively egalitarian, some less so. In the model, kin selection combines with between-group selection to favor "socially enforced nepotism," where you're nice to distant kin who will never repay you, because it raises your prestige.http://journals.plos.org/pl...
It doesn't work well even within disciplines at this point, hence the move towards different bibliometric appraoches - all of which are subject to goodhart's law. And now that publication count matters, people publish shoddier work in lower tier journals (http://andrewgelman.com/201... ) and attempting multiple publications (piecemeal publication) is becoming a more prominent problem. Within a single discipline, though, 12 publications means 12 publications, and cheating of the type mentioned above is easy for those acquainted with the field to notice, and account for. Not only is it much harder to notice these problems across disciplines, but the standards differ between disciplines. The naive approach would lead to counting as the same a physics paper where the author is one of over a hundred authors, a publication of a fragment of a single research project, original mathematical proofs, and a novel literary analysis.
"could make individual choose somewhat different" should be"could make individuals choose somewhat different"
"high visibility activates are also the most useful activities"should be"high visibility activities are also the most useful activities"
"in economics and also in aother area, they are judged mostly"should be "in economics and also in another area, they are judged mostly"
"but not if you only my citations or publications"should be"but not if you only count my citations or publications"
I'd suggest using test to speech software to catch these sorts of mistakes in the future. Hearing the post read to you really makes them easy to spot.
Why do you think simple-minded publication counting works within disciplines but not across multiple disciplines?
I generally agree with your thesis here, but this;"Universities could just hire the candidates with the best overall publication (or citation) record, regardless of in which disciplines they did what work. But academia hasn’t coordinated to do this, nor does it seem much interested in trying."
The degree to which Goodhart's law already distorts academic incentives makes this suggestion silly. They've tried to make academic work easier to quantify, and it's both failed, and hurt academia.
You are very high status among so-called rationalists, but I suppose few of them have high status. And I think that people who seek out polymath-ish influences value what you do and know who you are.
Given that you already more respected among those people than with traditional economists and academics, perhaps the best strategy is to embrace that path to prestige.
I worked for many years at one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. Then I left to go out on my own. Now, I do more interesting things, charge a fraction of my former rates, and I'm way better at what I do. But from a status and prestige perspective, at the moment, I'm a nobody. But I hope that the cumulative value of my non-traditional endeavors may lead to greater prestige eventually.
I guess the question is: what's more important to you, competing for status on someone else's (perhaps political, crony, artificially constrained, or inefficiently structured) terms or doing what you think is valuable and seeing how your status unfolds organically? Your actions seem to indicate that even you don't think organic prestige scales, that it is still the way you hope to get recognized.
Typo: I think "Each person i seeks" should be "Each person j seeks".
Also: in "for all individuals j and areas i,k we have the same area ratios aij / aik = Vi/ Vk", I think the ratio should be "a_ij / a_jk".