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

Author

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  • Damien Besancenot

    (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - USPC - Université Sorbonne Paris Cité - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Radu Vranceanu

    (Economics Department - Essec Business School)

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 scientifi c 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 scholars' ability to properly assess the scientifi c value of new ideas.

Suggested Citation

  • Damien Besancenot & Radu Vranceanu, 2014. "Fear of novelty : a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty," Working Papers hal-01117929, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01117929
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-essec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01117929
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Global games; Scienti c discovery; Strategic complementarity; Strategic un- certainty; Economics of science;

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