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What Does It Take to Become a Good Mathematician?

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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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 10-160.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22689

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  1. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, 05.
  2. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer Effects in Science - Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp0910, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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Cited by:
  1. Damien Besancenot & Jean-Michel Courtault & Khaled El Dika, 2011. "Piecework versus merit pay: a Mean Fi eld Game approach to academic behavior," CEPN Working Papers halshs-00632171, HAL.

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