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Productivity and mobility in academic research: evidence from mathematicians

Author

Listed:
  • Pierre Dubois

    (Toulouse School of Economics)

  • Jean-Charles Rochet

    (University of Zurich)

  • Jean-Marc Schlenker

    (University of Luxembourg)

Abstract

Using an exhaustive database on academic publications in mathematics all over the world, we study the patterns of productivity by mathematicians over the period 1984–2006. We uncover some surprising facts, such as the weakness of age related decline in productivity and the relative symmetry of international movements, rejecting the presumption of a massive “brain drain” towards the US. We also analyze the determinants of success by top US 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Dubois & Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean-Marc Schlenker, 2014. "Productivity and mobility in academic research: evidence from mathematicians," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(3), pages 1669-1701, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:98:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1112-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-013-1112-7
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bosquet, Clément & Combes, Pierre-Philippe, 2017. "Sorting and agglomeration economies in French economics departments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-44.
    3. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes, 2013. "Do Large Departments Make Academics More Productive? Agglomeration and Peer Effects in Research," SERC Discussion Papers 0133, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    4. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Emeric Henry & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Peer Effects in Academic Research: Senders and Receivers," Working Papers hal-03393072, HAL.
    5. Bamberger, Annette & Morris, Paul & Weinreb, Yaniv & Yemini, Miri, 2019. "Hyperpoliticised internationalisation in a pariah university: An Israeli institution in the occupied West Bank," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 119-128.
    6. Lindahl, Jonas, 2018. "Predicting research excellence at the individual level: The importance of publication rate, top journal publications, and top 10% publications in the case of early career mathematicians," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 518-533.
    7. Clément Bosquet & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Emeric Henry & Thierry Mayer, 2019. "Peer Effects in Academic Research: Senders and Receivers," Sciences Po publications 2019-16, Sciences Po.
    8. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Haddawy, Peter & Cicero, Tindaro & Hassan, Saeed-Ul, 2017. "The solitude of stars. An analysis of the distributed excellence model of European universities," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 435-454.
    9. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis, 2016. "Understanding the Changing Structure of Scientific Inquiry," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 100-128, January.
    10. Vadim N. Gureyev & Nikolay A. Mazov & Denis V. Kosyakov & Andrey E. Guskov, 0. "Review and analysis of publications on scientific mobility: assessment of influence, motivation, and trends," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 0, pages 1-32.
    11. Galina L. Volkova & Egor A. Nikishin, 2019. "Interregional Mobility Of Russian Researchers: Moving For A Promising Job," HSE Working papers WP BRP 103/STI/2019, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    12. Vadim N. Gureyev & Nikolay A. Mazov & Denis V. Kosyakov & Andrey E. Guskov, 2020. "Review and analysis of publications on scientific mobility: assessment of influence, motivation, and trends," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 124(2), pages 1599-1630, August.
    13. Olof Ejermo & Claudio Fassio & John Källström, 2020. "Does Mobility across Universities Raise Scientific Productivity?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(3), pages 603-624, June.
    14. Gokhan Aykac, 2021. "The value of an overseas research trip," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 126(8), pages 7097-7122, August.
    15. Mignon Wuestman & Koen Frenken & Iris Wanzenböck, 2020. "A genealogical approach to academic success," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(12), pages 1-16, December.
    16. Bosquet, Clément & Combes, Pierre-Philippe, 2017. "Sorting and agglomeration economies in French economics departments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-44.
    17. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Luca Secondi, 2017. "The determinants of research performance in European universities: a large scale multilevel analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(3), pages 1147-1178, September.
    18. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis, 2013. "Does Knowledge Accumulation Increase the Returns to Collaboration?," NBER Working Papers 19694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Faculty productivity; Organization of research; Peer effects in science;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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