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Climbing atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research

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  • Jeffrey L. Furman
  • Scott Stern
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    Abstract

    While cumulative knowledge production is central to growth, little empirical research investigates how institutions shape whether existing knowledge can be exploited to create new knowledge. This paper assesses the impact of a specific institution, a biological resource center, whose objective is to certify and disseminate knowledge. We disentangle the marginal impact of this institution on cumulative research from the impact of selection, in which the most important discoveries are endogenously linked to research-enhancing institutions. Exploiting exogenous shifts of biomaterials across institutional settings and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we find that effective institutions amplify the cumulative impact of individual scientific discoveries. (JEL D02, D83, I23, O30)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (August)
    Pages: 1933-63

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:5:p:1933-63

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    Cited by:
    1. Michaël Bikard & Fiona E. Murray & Joshua Gans, 2013. "Exploring Tradeoffs in the Organization of Scientific Work: Collaboration and Scientific Reward," NBER Working Papers 18958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stefan Wagner & Karin Hoisl & Grid Thoma, 2013. "Overcoming localization of knowledge: The role of professional service firms," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-13-09, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    3. Joshua S. Gans & Fiona Murray, 2014. "Credit History: The Changing Nature of Scientific Credit," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jung, Hyun Ju & Lee, Jeongsik “Jay”, 2014. "The impacts of science and technology policy interventions on university research: Evidence from the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 74-91.
    5. Fukugawa, Nobuya, 2012. "Impacts of intangible assets on the initial public offering of biotechnology startups," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 83-85.
    6. Ginger Zhe Jin & Benjamin Jones & Susan Feng Lu & Brian Uzzi, 2013. "The Reverse Matthew Effect: Catastrophe and Consequence in Scientific Teams," NBER Working Papers 19489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pierre Azoulay & Jeffrey L. Furman & Joshua L. Krieger & Fiona E. Murray, 2012. "Retractions," NBER Working Papers 18499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Frank Mueller-Langer & Michael Gerstenberger & Julian Hackinger & Benjamin Heisig, 2013. "A Brief Guide for the Creation of Author-specific Citation Metrics and Publication Data Using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Scopus Databases," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 228, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    9. Furman, Jeffrey L. & Jensen, Kyle & Murray, Fiona, 2012. "Governing knowledge in the scientific community: Exploring the role of retractions in biomedicine," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 276-290.

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