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Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Creation of Scientific Knowledge

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  • Waldinger, Fabian

    (University of Warwick)

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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes the e¤ects of human capital (HC) and physical capital (PC) for the productivity of science departments. To address the endogeneity of input choices I use two extensive but temporary shocks to the HC and PC of science departments. As HC shock I use the dismissal of mostly Jewish scientists in Nazi Germany. As PC shock I use the destruction of facilities by Allied bombings during WWII. In the short run, a 10 percent to HC lowered departmental productivity by about 0.21sd. A 10 percent shock to PC lowered departmental productivity by about 0.05sd in the short run. While the HC shock persisted until the end of my sample period (1980), departments experiencing a PC shock recovered very quickly (by 1961). Additional results show that the dismissal ‘star scientists’was particularly detrimental, and that a fall in the quality of hires was an important mechanism for the persistence of the HC shock.

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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/research/papers/78.2012_waldinger.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in its series CAGE Online Working Paper Series with number 78.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cge:warwcg:78

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    1. Marcheggiano, Gilberto & Miles, David K & Yang, Jing, 2011. "Optimal Bank Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 8333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Wolf Wagner, 2010. "In the Quest of Systemic Externalities: A Review of the Literature ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 56(1), pages 96-111, March.
    3. Laibson, David I. & Mollerstrom, Johanna Britta, 2010. "Capital Flows, Consumption Booms and Asset Bubbles: A Behavioural Alternative to the Savings Glut Hypothesis," Scholarly Articles 4686766, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Giovanni Majnoni & Andrew Powell, 2011. "On Endogenous Risk, the Amplification Effects of Financial Systems and Macro Prudential Policies," IDB Publications 58618, Inter-American Development Bank.
    5. Miller Marcus & Santos Monteiro Paulo & Zhang Lei, 2011. "Eastern Caution, Western Exuberance and Global Imbalances," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-42, August.
    6. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Giovanni Majnoni & Andrew Powell, 2011. "On Endogenous Risk, the Amplification Effects of Financial Systems and Macro Prudential Policies," Research Department Publications 4726, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    8. Korinek, Anton, 2011. "Systemic risk-taking: amplification effects, externalities, and regulatory responses," Working Paper Series 1345, European Central Bank.
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