Job candidates, departments, journals, professors… Nobody is safe from the unrelenting rating machine of this profession. My intuition and some anecdotal evidence say that  economists are more obsessed with ranking than our colleagues from humanities and natural sciences. To investigate the issue more systematically, I thought to define ranking obsession using google search count. So, for a string {S} let {N(S)} be the number of results in google search for S.

Definition 1 Let {S} be a name of an academic field. The ranking obsession factor {\text{ROF}(S)} of {S} is given by

\displaystyle  \text{ROF}(S) = \frac{N (``\text{ranking of }'' ~\hat{~}~ S ~\hat{~}~ ``\text{ departments}'')}{N(S~\hat{~}~ ``\text{Departments}'')}

Here {~\hat{~}~} stands for concatenation. For example, the ROF of Economics is the ratio of N(“ranking of economics departments”) and N(“economics departments”).

When I started to compute ROFs I came accross a small problem: it is not clear whether to look at “rankings” (plural) or “ranking” (singular). So I replaced the nominator with the maximum between {N \bigl(\text{``ranking of ''} ~\hat{~}~ S ~\hat{~}~ \text{``departments''}\bigr)} and {N\bigl(\text{``rankings of ''} ~\hat{~}~ S ~\hat{~}~ \text{``departments''}\bigr)}

The outcomes are so good (or bad..) I fear there is some serious methodological flaw here, but anyway, here they are

\displaystyle \begin{array}{ll} \mbox{Field} &\mbox{ROF}\\\hline \mbox{Economics}&0.85\\ \mbox{Computer Science}&0.35\\ \mbox{Physics}&0.12\\ \mbox{Mathematics}&0.089\\ \mbox{English}&0.041\\ \mbox{History}&0.000045\\ \end{array}

Btw, the ROF of Gender studies is apparently {0}. I tried dozen different searches like “ranking of gender studies departments”, “gender studies department rankings”, “ranking of departments of gender studies”, but I didn’t get any results.