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Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany

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  • Fabian Waldinger

Abstract

This paper analyses peer effects among university scientists. Specifically, it investigates whether the quality and the number of peers affect the productivity of researchers in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The usual endogeneity problems related to estimating peer effects are addressed by using the dismissal of scientists by the Nazi government in 1933 as a source of exogenous variation in the peer group of scientists staying in Germany. To investigate localized peer effects, I construct a new panel data set covering the universe of scientists at the German universities from 1925 to 1938 from historical sources. I find no evidence for peer effects at the local level. Even very high-quality scientists do not affect the productivity of their local peers. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Waldinger, 2012. "Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 838-861.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:2:p:838-861
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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