Prizes for basic research: Human capital, economic might and the shadow of history
AbstractThis paper studies the impact of several factors on the geographical distribution of basic scientific research across countries and time, and explains the dynamics of the process that has resulted in the United States becoming the undisputed leader in basic research. Our study is based on the records of major scientific awards, and on data dealing with global economic and historical trends. We investigate the degree to which scale or threshold effects account for the number of major prizes (Nobel, Fields, Kyoto, Wolf) won by different countries. We constructed a stylized model, predicting that lagged relative GDP of a country relative to the GDP of all countries engaging in basic research is an important explanatory variable of a country?s share of prizes. Scale effects imply that the association between the GDP share of a country and its prize share can be logistic -- above a certain threshold, there is a take-off range, where the prize share increases at an accelerating rate relative to the GDP share of the country, until it reaches "maturity" stage. Our empirical research findings confirm the importance of lagged relative GDP in accounting for a country's prize shares, and the presence of a "winner-takes-all" scale effect benefiting the leader. We found that U.S. basic research take-off started during the 1920s, with this research being done in the United States by U.S. scholars, prior to the immigration of scientists after Hitler's rise to power in Germany (1932-33). This is consistent with the notion that World War II set in motion forces that did not start, but hastened, the U.S. take-off, triggering immigration that contributed to the speed and intensity of U.S. research dominance. Using more recent data, we also documented the growing importance of countries that used to be at the periphery of global research, but are now possibly advancing towards the take-off stage.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.
Volume (Year): 12 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102931
Global economic trends; Basic research; Human capital; Winner-takes-all; F15; F21; O3; N4;
Other versions of this item:
- Ilan Noy & Joshua Aizenman, 2007. "Prizes for Basic Research -- Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," Working Papers 200705, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
- Joshua Aizenman & Ilan Noy, 2006. "Prizes for Basic Research -- Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," NBER Working Papers 12226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
- F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul A.David, 2005.
"Path dependence, its critics and the quest for ‘historical economics’,"
- Paul A. David, . "Path Dependence, its critics, and the quest for 'historical economics'," Working Papers 00011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2004.
"A Search for Multiple Equilibria in Urban Industrial Structure,"
NBER Working Papers
10252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "A Search For Multiple Equilibria In Urban Industrial Structure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 29-65.
- Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "A search for multiple equilibria in urban industrial structure," Discussion Papers 0304-12, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
- David E. Weinstein & Donald R. Davis, 2004. "Search for Multiple Equilibria in Urban Industrial Structure," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 639, Econometric Society.
- Benjamin F. Jones, 2005. "Age and Great Invention," NBER Working Papers 11359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
- Andrew K. Rose, 2006. "Size Really Doesn't Matter: In Search of a National Scale Effect," NBER Working Papers 12191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce A. Weinberg & David W. Galenson, 2005. "Creative Careers: The Life Cycles of Nobel Laureates in Economics," NBER Working Papers 11799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rose, Andrew K., 2006.
"Size really doesn't matter: In search of a national scale effect,"
Journal of the Japanese and International Economies,
Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 482-507, December.
- Rose, Andrew K, 2005. "Size Really Doesn't Matter: In Search of a National Scale Effect," CEPR Discussion Papers 5350, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Andrew B. Bernard & Meghan R. Busse, 2004. "Who Wins the Olympic Games: Economic Resources and Medal Totals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 413-417, February.
- Salter, Ammon J. & Martin, Ben R., 2001. "The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 509-532, March.
- Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
- Dailami, Mansoor & Kurlat, Sergio & Lim, Jamus Jerome, 2012.
"Bilateral M&A activity from the Global South,"
The North American Journal of Economics and Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 345-364.
- Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni & Fabian Capitanio, 2008.
"Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity,"
International Journal of Manpower,
Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 263-279, July.
- Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo & Capitanio, Fabian, 2007. "Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity," MPRA Paper 7880, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni & Fabian Capitanio, 2006. "Effects of social interactions on Scientists’ productivity," Discussion Papers 19_2006, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
- Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo, 2007.
"Social rewards in science and economic growth,"
2776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.