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The impact of research grant funding on scientific productivity


  • Jacob, Brian A.
  • Lefgren, Lars


In this paper, we estimate the impact of receiving an NIH grant on subsequent publications and citations. Our sample consists of all applications (unsuccessful as well as successful) to the NIH from 1980 to 2000 for standard research grants (R01s). Both OLS and IV estimates show that receipt of an NIH research grant (worth roughly $1.7Â million) leads to only one additional publication over the next five years, which corresponds to a 7% increase. The limited impact of NIH grants is consistent with a model in which the market for research funding is competitive, so that the loss of an NIH grant simply causes researchers to shift to another source of funding.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars, 2011. "The impact of research grant funding on scientific productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1168-1177, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9-10:p:1168-1177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rebecca Henderson & Iain Cockburn, 1996. "Scale, Scope, and Spillovers: The Determinants of Research Productivity in Drug Discovery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 32-59, Spring.
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    3. David, Paul A. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Toole, Andrew A., 2000. "Is public R&D a complement or substitute for private R&D? A review of the econometric evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 497-529, April.
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    6. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 298-302, May.
    7. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
    8. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "The Impact of Teacher Training on Student Achievement: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from School Reform Efforts in Chicago," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
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    More about this item


    Scientific productivity Regression discontinuity Government funding;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy


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