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The ‘problem of problem choice’: A model of sequential knowledge production within scientific communities cientific communities

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  • Nicolas Carayol
  • Jean-Michel Dalle

Abstract

In this paper we present an original model of sequential problem choice within scientific communities. Disciplinary knowledge is accumulated by solving problems emerging in a growing tree-like web of research areas. Knowledge production is sequential since the problems solved generate new problems that may be handled. The model allows us to study how the reward system in science influences the scientific community in stochastically selecting at each period its research agendas, and the long term resulting disciplines. We present some evidence on a decrease in the generation of new areas, a path dependency in specialization, and circumstances under which collapsing dynamics arise.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2003-12.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2003-12

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Related research

Keywords: Sequential Problem Choice; Stochastic Process; Tree; Graph Theory; Scientific Knowledge; Academics; Reward System;

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References

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  1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1995. "Recombinant Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1722, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  3. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  4. Salter, Ammon J. & Martin, Ben R., 2001. "The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 509-532, March.
  5. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  6. Dasgupta, Partha & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "The Simple Economics of Research Portfolios," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 581-95, September.
  7. Plouraboue, F. & Steyer, A. & Zimmermann, J.B., 1996. "Learning Induced Criticality in Consumers' Adoption Pattern: A Neural Network Approach," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 96a28, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  8. Paula E. Stephan, 1996. "The Economics of Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1199-1235, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Azomahou, Théophile & Mishra, Tapas, 2008. "Age dynamics and economic growth: Revisiting the nexus in a nonparametric setting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 67-71, April.

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