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Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Creation of Scientific Knowledge

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  • Waldinger, Fabian

Abstract

I examine the role of human and physical capital for the creation of scientific knowledge. I address the endogeneity of human and physical capital with two exogenous shocks: the dismissal of scientists in Nazi Germany and World War II bombings. A 10% shock to human capital reduced output by 0.2 SD in the short run, and the reduction persisted in the long run. A 10% shock to physical capital reduced output by 0.05 SD in the short run, and the reduction did not persist. The dismissal of star scientists caused much larger reductions in output because they are key for attracting other successful scientists.

Suggested Citation

  • Waldinger, Fabian, 2016. "Bombs, Brains, and Science: The Role of Human and Physical Capital for the Creation of Scientific Knowledge," Munich Reprints in Economics 68905, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:68905
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    1. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 527-554, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Helge Liebert & Beatrice Mäder, 2018. "Physician Density and Infant Mortality: A Semiparametric Analysis of the Returns to Health Care Provision," CESifo Working Paper Series 7209, CESifo.
    2. Dominik P. Heinisch & Guido Buenstorf, 2018. "The next generation (plus one): an analysis of doctoral students’ academic fecundity based on a novel approach to advisor identification," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 117(1), pages 351-380, October.
    3. Mokyr, Joel, 2018. "The past and the future of innovation: Some lessons from economic history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 13-26.
    4. Sascha O. Becker & Irena Grosfeld & Pauline Grosjean & Nico Voigtländer & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2020. "Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(5), pages 1430-1463, May.
    5. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Pham, Tho & Talavera, Oleksandr, 2019. "Conference Presentations and Academic Publishing," IZA Discussion Papers 12573, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Hornung, Erik, 2019. "Diasporas, diversity, and economic activity: Evidence from 18th-century Berlin," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    7. Daniel Kahneman, 2018. "Comment on "Artificial Intelligence and Behavioral Economics"," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda, pages 608-610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. William R. Kerr, 2013. "U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 19377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Benjamin Balsmeier & Lee Fleming & Matt Marx & Seungryul Ryan Shin, 2020. "Skilled Human Capital and High-Growth Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Inventor Inflows," NBER Working Papers 27605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Iris Kesternich & Bettina Siflinger & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 103-118, March.
    11. Anders, Jake & Burgess, Simon & Portes, Jonathan, 2018. "The Long-Term Outcomes of Refugees: Tracking the Progress of the East African Asians," IZA Discussion Papers 11609, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. V. Licio, 2019. "When history leaves a mark: a new measure of Roman roads," Working Paper CRENoS 201904, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    13. Naudé, Wim & Nagler, Paula, 2017. "Technological Innovation and Inclusive Growth in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 11194, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Jeffrey L. Furman & Markus Nagler & Martin Watzinger, 2018. "Disclosure and Subsequent Innovation: Evidence from the Patent Depository Library Program," NBER Working Papers 24660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Barbara Biasi & Petra Moser, 2018. "Effects of Copyrights on Science - Evidence from the US Book Republication Program," Working Papers 18-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    16. Matthias Blum & Claudia Rei, 2018. "Escaping Europe: health and human capital of Holocaust refugees1," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-27.
    17. Patrick A. Puhani, 2015. "Employment industry and occupational continuity in Germany: from the Nazi regime to the post-war economic miracle," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(8), pages 603-612, May.
    18. Wim Naudé & Paula Nagler, 2018. "Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Productivity in Germany, 1871-2015," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-02, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    19. Ajay Agrawal & John McHale & Alexander Oettl, 2014. "Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science: Evidence from Evolutionary Biology," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, pages 75-102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Agrawal, Ajay & McHale, John & Oettl, Alexander, 2017. "How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 853-867.
    21. Biasi, Barbara & Moser, Petra, 2018. "Effects of Copyrights on Science - Evidence from the US Book Republication Program," CEPR Discussion Papers 12651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Geerling, Wayne & Magee, Gary & Raschky, Paul & Smyth, Russell, 2017. "Legally Irrelevant Factors in Judicial Decision-making: Battle Deaths and the Imposition of the Death Penalty in Nazi Germany," MPRA Paper 77159, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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