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The Economics of Scientific Misconduct

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Author Info

  • Nicola Lacetera

    (Department of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western University, Cleveland, OH, USA)

  • Lorenzo Zirulia

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; CESPRI, Bocconi University, Milano, Italy; and Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis)

Abstract

Scientific fraud is a pervasive phenomenon with deleterious consequences, as it leads to false scientific knowledge being published, therefore a¤ecting major individual and public decisions. In this paper we build a game-theoretic model of the research and publication process that ana- lyzes why scientists commit fraud and how fraud can be detected and prevented. In the model, authors are asymmetrically informed about the success of their projects, and can fraudulently manipulate their results. We show four main results. First, the types of scientific frauds that are observed are unlikely to be representative of the overall amount of malfeasance in science; also, star scientists are more likely to misbehave, but are less likely to be caught than average scientists. Second, a reduction in the costs of checking for frauds may not lead to a reduction of misconduct episodes, but rather to a change in the type of research that is performed. Third, an increase in competition between scientists may in fact reduce, and not increase, scientific misconduct. Finally, a more active role of editors in checking for misconduct does not always provide additional deterrence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 215.

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Length: pages 34
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision: Apr 2008
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp215

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Keywords: Research and publication process; peer review; fraud.;

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References

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  1. Alexander Dyck & Adair Morse & Luigi Zingales, 2007. "Who Blows the Whistle on Corporate Fraud?," NBER Working Papers 12882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2007. "Replication in Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 2760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gary A. Hoover, 2004. "Whose Line Is It? Plagiarism in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 487-493, June.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser, 2006. "Researcher Incentives and Empirical Methods," NBER Technical Working Papers 0329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. List, John A, et al, 2001. "Academic Economists Behaving Badly? A Survey on Three Areas of Unethical Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(1), pages 162-70, January.
  6. Dewald, William G & Thursby, Jerry G & Anderson, Richard G, 1986. "Replication in Empirical Economics: The Journal of Money, Credit and Banking Project," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 587-603, September.
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Citations

RePEc Biblio mentions

As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Economics Profession > Ethics in Economics > Plagiarism
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Haeussler, Carolin & Jiang, Lin & Thursby, Jerry & Thursby, Marie, 2014. "Specific and general information sharing among competing academic researchers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 465-475.
  3. Carolin Haeussler & Lin Jiang & Jerry Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2009. "Specific and General Information Sharing Among Academic Scientists," NBER Working Papers 15315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Franzoni, Chiara & Sauermann, Henry, 2014. "Crowd science: The organization of scientific research in open collaborative projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-20.
  5. Haeussler, Carolin & Sauermann, Henry, 2013. "Credit where credit is due? The impact of project contributions and social factors on authorship and inventorship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 688-703.
  6. Henry Sauermann & Michael Roach, 2011. "Not All Scientists pay to be Scientists:," DRUID Working Papers 11-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  7. Lissoni, Francesco & Fabio, Montobbio, 2012. "Inventorship and authorship as attribution rights: An enquiry into the economics of scientific credit," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201221, University of Turin.
  8. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2014. "Open Access to Research Data: Strategic Delay and the Ambiguous Welfare Effects of Mandatory Data Disclosure," Discussion Papers in Economics 21037, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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