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Lost in the Storm: The Academic Collaborations that Went Missing in Hurricane Isaac


  • Raquel Campos


  • Fernanda L. L. de Leon


  • Ben McQuillin



By exploiting the cancellation of the 2012 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, we investigate the role of conferences in facilitating academic collaboration. We assembled datasets comprising 17,468 academics and 86 million pairs of conference participants. In difference-in-differences analysis, we find the conference cancellation led to a decrease in individuals' likelihood of co-authoring an article with another attendant by 18 percent. Moreover, collaborations formed among attendants of (occurring) conferences are associated with more successful co-publications: an effect which is sharpest for teams that are new or non-collocated. These findings are novel and demonstrate the importance of conferences in scientific production.

Suggested Citation

  • Raquel Campos & Fernanda L. L. de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2017. "Lost in the Storm: The Academic Collaborations that Went Missing in Hurricane Isaac," Studies in Economics 1707, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:1707

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kim, E. Han & Morse, Adair & Zingales, Luigi, 2009. "Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 353-381, September.
    2. Benjamin F. Jones, 2009. "The Burden of Knowledge and the "Death of the Renaissance Man": Is Innovation Getting Harder?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 283-317.
    3. Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb, 2008. "Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1578-1590, September.
    4. Marcel Fafchamps & Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij, 2010. "Matching and Network Effects," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 203-231, March.
    5. Richard B. Freeman & Wei Huang, 2015. "Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Coauthorship within the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 289-318.
    6. Fernanda L. L. de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2014. "The Role of Conferences on the Pathway to Academic Impact: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Studies in Economics 1408, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    7. Fernanda Leite Lopez de Leon & Ben McQuillin, 2020. "The Role of Conferences on the Pathway to Academic Impact Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 164-193.
    8. Kevin J. Boudreau & Tom Brady & Ina Ganguli & Patrick Gaule & Eva Guinan & Anthony Hollenberg & Karim R. Lakhani, 2017. "A Field Experiment on Search Costs and the Formation of Scientific Collaborations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 565-576, July.
    9. Waverly W. Ding & Sharon G. Levin & Paula E. Stephan & Anne E. Winkler, 2010. "The Impact of Information Technology on Academic Scientists' Productivity and Collaboration Patterns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1439-1461, September.
    10. Joshua Gans & Fiona Murray, 2014. "Markets for Scientific Attribution," NBER Working Papers 20677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Richard B. Freeman & Ina Ganguli & Raviv Murciano-Goroff, 2014. "Why and Wherefore of Increased Scientific Collaboration," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, pages 17-48, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Pham, Tho & Talavera, Oleksandr, 2019. "Conference Presentations and Academic Publishing," IZA Discussion Papers 12573, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Asier Minondo, 2020. "Who presents and where? An analysis of research seminars in US economics departments," Papers 2001.10561,, revised May 2020.
    3. Enrico Berkes & Peter Nencka, 2019. "‘Novel’ Ideas: The Effects of Carnegie Libraries on Innovative Activities," 2019 Meeting Papers 1315, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Baruffaldi, Stefano & Pöge, Felix, 2020. "A Firm Scientific Community: Industry Participation and Knowledge Diffusion," IZA Discussion Papers 13419, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item


    conference effects; collaboration; formation of teams; production in science;

    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
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact


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