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Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?

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  • Scott Stern
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    Abstract

    This paper evaluates the relationship between wages and the scientific orientation of R&D organizations. Science-oriented firms allow researchers to publish in the scientific literature and pursue individual research agendas. Adoption of a Science- oriented research approach (i.e., Science) is driven by two distinct forces: a (a Preference effect) and R&D productivity gains arising from earlier access to discoveries (a Productivity effect). The equilibrium relationship between wages and Science reflects the relative salience of these effects: the Preference effect contributes to a negative compensating differential while the Productivity effect raises the possibility of rent-sharing between firms and researchers. In addition, because the value of participating in Science is increasing in the prestige of researchers, Science tends to be adopted by those firms who employ higher-quality researchers. This structural relationship between the adoption of Science and unobserved heterogeneity in researcher ability leads to bias in the context of hedonic wage and productivity regressions which do not account for such effects. This paper exploits a novel field-based empirical approach to substantially overcome this bias. Specifically, prior to accepting a specific job offer, many scientists receive multiple job offers, making it possible to calculate the wage- Science curve for individual scientists, controlling for ability level. The methodology is applied to a sample of postdoctoral biologists. The results suggest a strong negative relationship between wages and Science. For example, firms who allow their employees to publish extract, on average, a 25% wage discount. The results are robust to restricting the sample to non-academic job offers, but the findings depend critically on the inclusion of the researcher fixed effects. The paper's conclusion, then, is that, conditional on scientific ability, scientists do indeed pay to be scientists.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7410.

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    Date of creation: Oct 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7410

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    References

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Jarle Møen, 2000. "Is Mobility of Technical Personnel a Source of R&D Spillovers?," NBER Working Papers 7834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Davis, Lee N. & Davis, Jerome & Hoisl, Karin, 2009. "What Inspires Leisure Time Invention?," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 10457, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
    3. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Who Benefits Most from Employee Involvement: Firms or Workers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 219-223, May.
    4. Goldfarb, Brent, 2008. "The effect of government contracting on academic research: Does the source of funding affect scientific output," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 41-58, February.
    5. Baron, David P., 2004. "Persistent Media Bias," Research Papers 1845r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. Lee Branstetter & Yoshiaki Ogura, 2005. "Is Academic Science Driving a Surge in Industrial Innovation? Evidence from Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 11561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Fiona Murray & Scott Stern, 2005. "Do Formal Intellectual Property Rights Hinder the Free Flow of Scientific Knowledge? An Empirical Test of the Anti-Commons Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 11465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lee Branstetter & Kwon Hyeog Ug, 2004. "The Restructuring Of Japanese Research And Development: The Increasing Impact Of Science On Japanese R&D," Discussion papers 04021, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Goldfarb, Brent & Henrekson, Magnus, 2001. "Bottom-Up vs. Top-Down Policies towards the Commercialization of University Intellectual Property," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 463, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 26 May 2002.
    10. Glenna, Leland L. & Welsh, Rick & Ervin, David & Lacy, William B. & Biscotti, Dina, 2011. "Commercial science, scientists' values, and university biotechnology research agendas," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 957-968, September.
    11. Jarle Møen, 2004. "When subsidized R&D-firms fail, do they still stimulate growth? Tracing knowledge by following employees across firms," Discussion Papers 399, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    12. Cassiman, Bruno & Veugelers, Reinhilde & Zuniga, Pluvia, 2009. "Diversity of science linkages and innovation performance: some empirical evidence from Flemish firms," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-30, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    13. Stephane R. ROBIN, 2002. "The effect of supervision on Ph.D. duration, publications and job outcomes," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002041, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    14. Goldfarb, Brent & Henrekson, Magnus, 2003. "Bottom-up versus top-down policies towards the commercialization of university intellectual property," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 639-658, April.
    15. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
    16. Cassiman, Bruno & Veugelers, Reinhilde & Zuniga, Pluvia, 2007. "Science linkages and innovation performance: An analysis on CIS-3 firms in Belgium," IESE Research Papers D/671, IESE Business School.
    17. Beath, John & Owen, Robert F. & Poyago-Theotoky, Joanna & Ulph, David, 2003. "Optimal incentives for income-generation in universities: the rule of thumb for the Compton tax," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1301-1322, November.
    18. Nicola Lacetera, 2003. "Incentives and spillovers in R&D activities: an agency-theoretic analysis of industry-university relations," Microeconomics 0312004, EconWPA.

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