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Fear of novelty : a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the production of fundamental research as a coordination game played by scholars. In the model, scholars decide to adopt a new idea only if they believe that a critical mass of peers is following a similar research strategy. If researchers observe only a noisy idiosyncratic signal of the true scientiÖc potential of a new idea, we show that the game presents a single threshold equilibrium. In this environment, fundamental research proceeds with large structural breaks followed by long periods of time in which new ideas are unsuccessful. The likelihood of a new idea emerging depends on various parameters, including the rewards of working in the old paradigm, the critical mass of researchers required to create a new school of thought and scholarsí ability to properly assess the scientific value of new ideas.

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  • Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2015. "Fear of novelty : a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty," ESSEC Working Papers WP1503, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:essewp:dr-15003
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    Cited by:

    1. Mikko Packalen & Jay Bhattacharya, 2017. "Neophilia ranking of scientific journals," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 43-64, January.
    2. Mikko Packalen & Jay Bhattacharya, 2018. "Does the NIH Fund Edge Science?," NBER Working Papers 24860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of science; Scientific discovery; Strategic complementarity; Strategic uncertainty; Global games;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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