Prizes for Basic Research â€“ Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History
AbstractThis paper studies the impact of global factors on patterns of basic research across countries and time. We rely on the records of major scientific awards, and on data dealing with global economic and historical trends. Specifically, we investigate the degree to which scale or threshold effects account for countries share of major prizes [Nobel, Fields, Kyoto and Wolf]. We construct 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 countryâ€™s share of prizes. Scale effects imply that the association between the GDP share of a country and its prize share tends to be logistic -- above a threshold, there is a â€œtake offâ€ range, where the prize share increases at an accelerating rate with the relative GDP share of the country, until it reaches â€œmaturityâ€ stage. Our empirical analysis confirms the importance of lagged relative GDP in accounting for countriesâ€™ prize shares, and the presence of "winner takes all" scale effect benefiting the leader. Using measures of casualties during the wars, we find that the only significant effect can be found for a lag of 3 decades â€“ i.e., deaths in the war negatively impact the viability of basic research about 30 years after the fact. With more recent data, we document the growing importance of countries that used to be at the periphery of global research, possibly advancing towards the take off stage.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt31b6j0wh.
Date of creation: 01 May 2006
Date of revision:
Global economic trends; basic research; World War I and II; human capital; winner takes all;
Other versions of this item:
- Aizenman, Joshua & Noy, Ilan, 2006. "Prizes for Basic Research â€“Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6cv239h0, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- Aizenman, Joshua & Noy, Ilan, 2006. "Prizes for Basic Research â€“Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt6cv239h0, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
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