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Productivity and Mobility in Academic Research: Evidence from Mathematicians

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  • Dubois, Pierre
  • Rochet, Jean-Charles
  • Schlenker, Jean-Marc

Abstract

Using an exhaustive database on academic publications in mathematics, we study the patterns of productivity by world mathematicians over the period 1984-2006. We uncover some surprising facts, such as the absence of age related decline in productivity and the relative symmetry of international movements, rejecting the presumption of a massive ”brain drain” towards the U.S. Looking at the U.S. academic market in mathematics, we analyze the determinants of success by top departments. In conformity with recent studies in other fields, we find that selection effects are much stronger than local interaction effects: the best departments are most successful in hiring the most promising mathematicians, but not necessarily at stimulating positive externalities among them. Finally we analyze the impact of career choices by mathematicians: mobility almost always pays, but early specialization does not.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 606.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:22670

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  1. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2000. "Intellectual Collaboration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 632-661, June.
  2. Ajay K. Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb, 2006. "Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," NBER Working Papers 12812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Borjas, George J. & Doran, Kirk, 2012. "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians," Scholarly Articles 8160722, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2002. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Economic theory and game theory 015, Oscar Volij.
  5. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer effects in science: evidence from the dismissal of scientists in Nazi Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28518, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Laurent Linnemer, 2003. "Where are the Economists Who Publish? Publication Concentration and Rankings in Europe Based on Cumulative Publications," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1250-1308, December.
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