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Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity

Purpose - Recent economic research has focused on the economic effects of the social environment. In the economic literature, important phenomena are considered, at least in part, as results of the individual's social environment. There is a similar revival of interest among economists who analyse the world of science and basic research. In this case as well, the environment plays a key role in the agent's behaviour. This paper aims at an empirical analysis of the influence of social interactions on scientists' productivity. Design/methodology/approach - In the econometric analysis the authors investigate the aggregate importance of social interactions in science through the analysis of data on publications in four scientific fields of seven advanced countries. The paper builds a dynamic autoregressive model which provides long-run multipliers. The model is estimated with a panel fixed effects methodology. Findings - Social interactions among researchers have positive effects on a scientist's productivity, and there is a U-shaped relation between the size of a scientific network and individual productivity. This result is interpreted as providing evidence for threshold externalities and increasing returns to scale. Research limitations/implications - Other better indicators of social interactions in science should be found and used in estimates. The set of countries and fields should be enlarged. Originality/value - The paper represents the first econometric investigation of the issue at country level, and provides interesting results which are new for the economic literature.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 263-279

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:29:y:2008:i:3:p:263-279
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  1. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
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  8. Ilan Noy & Joshua Aizenman, 2007. "Prizes for Basic Research -- Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," Working Papers 200705, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
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  10. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco van der Leij & Jose Luis Moraga, 2004. "Economics: An Emerging Small World?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-001/1, Tinbergen Institute.
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  13. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Nadiri, M. Ishaq, 1988. "Research and Development and Intraindustry Spillovers: An Empirical Application of Dynamic Duality," Working Papers 88-06, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  27. Mansfield, Edwin, 1995. "Academic Research Underlying Industrial Innovations:," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 55-65, February.
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