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Incentives in Basic Research

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  • Edward P. Lazear

Abstract

Individuals involved in basic research, like other workers, respond to incentives. Funding agencies provide implicit incentives when they specify the rules by which awards are made. The following analysis is an exercise in understanding incentives at an applied level. Specific rules are examined and analyzed to determine their incentive effects. For example, what is the effect of rewarding past effort? What happens when a few large awards are replaced by many small awards? How does the timing of an award affect effort? How does an agency choose which topics to fund? After having mapped out the responses of researchers to rules, socially optimal rules are derived. Research incentive issues have private business analogues, and the extension to the operation of the firm is discussed briefly.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Incentives in Basic Research," NBER Working Papers 5444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5444
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    Cited by:

    1. Saul Lach & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Incentives and invention in universities," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 403-433.
    2. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni & Fabian Capitanio, 2008. "Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 263-279, June.
    3. Henry Sauermann & Wesley M. Cohen, 2010. "What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(12), pages 2134-2153, December.
    4. A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "The Effects of Congressional Appropriation Committee Membership on the Distribution of Federal Research Funding to Universities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 325-345, April.
    5. Nicola Lacetera, 2009. "Different Missions and Commitment Power in R&D Organizations: Theory and Evidence on Industry-University Alliances," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 565-582, June.
    6. Daniel Chudnovsky & Andrés López & Martín Rossi & Diego Ubfal, 2006. "Evaluating a Program of Public Funding of Scientific Activity. A Case Study of FONCYT in Argentina," OVE Working Papers 1206, Inter-American Development Bank, Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE).
    7. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni, 2006. "Social Rewards in Science and Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 10_2006, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    8. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni, 2004. "Academic Research, Social Interactions And Economic Growth," Working Papers 10_2004, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    9. Alberto Batinti, 2016. "NIH biomedical funding: evidence of executive dominance in swing-voter states during presidential elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 239-263, September.
    10. Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo, 2014. "“Little Science” and “Big Science”: The institution of “Open Science” as a cause of scientific and economic inequalities among countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 42-56.
    11. Craig Andrea & Vierø Marie-Louise, 2013. "Academia or the Private Sector? Sorting of Agents into Institutions and an Outside Sector," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 303-345, December.
    12. Maria Rosaria Carillo & Erasmo Papagni, 2004. "Incentive Structure In Basic Research And Economic Growth," Working Papers 9_2004, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    13. Goldfarb, Brent, 2008. "The effect of government contracting on academic research: Does the source of funding affect scientific output," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 41-58, February.
    14. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:38-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Hrvoje Matakovic & Mirjana Pejic Bach & Iva Radocaj Novak, 2013. "Scientific Productivity in Transition Countries: Trends and Obstacles," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 11(2), pages 174-189.
    16. Yin, Wesley, 2009. "R&D policy, agency costs and innovation in personalized medicine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 950-962, September.
    17. Kealey, Terence & Ricketts, Martin, 2014. "Modelling science as a contribution good," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 1014-1024.
    18. S. Keith Berry, 2006. "Firm Incentives for Invention Prizes with Multiple Winners," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 83-95, Winter.
    19. Morley Gunderson, 2010. "Edward P. Lazear," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Carayol, Nicolas & Dalle, Jean-Michel, 2007. "Sequential problem choice and the reward system in Open Science," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 167-191, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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