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Prizes and Productivity- How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output

Author

Listed:
  • Kirk B. Doran

    () (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

  • George J. Borjas

    (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

Abstract

Knowledge generation is key to economic growth, and scientific prizes are designed to encourage it. But how does winning a prestigious prize affect future output? We compare the productivity of Fields medalists (winners of the top mathematics prize) to that of similarly brilliant contenders. The two groups have similar publication rates until the award year, after which the winners’ productivity declines. The medalists begin to “play the field,” studying unfamiliar topics at the expense of writing papers. It appears that tournaments can have large post-prize effects on the effort allocation of knowledge producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirk B. Doran & George J. Borjas, 2013. "Prizes and Productivity- How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output," Working Papers 022, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jana Gallus & Bruno S. Frey, 2016. "Awards: A strategic management perspective," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(8), pages 1699-1714, August.
    2. Jia, Ruixue & Nie, Huihua & Xiao, Wei, 2019. "Power and publications in Chinese academia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 792-805.
    3. Leive, Adam, 2018. "Dying to win? Olympic Gold medals and longevity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 193-204.
    4. Yu-Wei Chang & Dar-Zen Chen & Mu-Hsuan Huang, 2020. "Discovering types of research performance of scientists with significant contributions," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 124(2), pages 1529-1552, August.
    5. Bruno S. Frey & Anthony Gullo, 2020. "Sic transit gloria mundi: What remains of famous economists after their deaths?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 123(1), pages 283-298, April.
    6. Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler & Kamal P. Upadhyaya, 2017. "Scholarly impact and the timing of major awards in economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(3), pages 1837-1852, September.
    7. Chan, Ho Fai & Frey, Bruno S. & Gallus, Jana & Torgler, Benno, 2014. "Academic honors and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    8. Sasaki, Shusaku & Kurokawa, Hirofumi & Ohtake, Fumio, 2019. "Positive and negative effects of social status on longevity: Evidence from two literary prizes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-1.
    9. Yu-Wei Chang & Dar-Zen Chen & Mu-Hsuan Huang, 0. "Discovering types of research performance of scientists with significant contributions," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    10. Ho Fai Chan & Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler, 2019. "Fame in the sciences: a culturomics approach," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 118(2), pages 605-615, February.
    11. Joao Ricardo Faria & Peter McAdam, 2014. "Does Tenure Make Researchers Less Productive? The Case of the “Specialist”," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0514, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    12. Pietro Battiston & Pier Luigi Sacco & Luca Stanca, 2019. "Cover Effects on Citations Uncovered: Evidence from Nature," Working Papers 420, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2019.
    13. Yinyu Jin & Sha Yuan & Zhou Shao & Wendy Hall & Jie Tang, 2021. "Turing Award elites revisited: patterns of productivity, collaboration, authorship and impact," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 126(3), pages 2329-2348, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Knoweledge; Productivity; Prizes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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