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The ‘problem of problem choice’: A model of sequential knowledge production within scientific communities cientific communities

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  • Nicolas Carayol
  • Jean-Michel Dalle

Abstract

In this paper we present an original model of sequential problem choice within scientific communities. Disciplinary knowledge is accumulated by solving problems emerging in a growing tree-like web of research areas. Knowledge production is sequential since the problems solved generate new problems that may be handled. The model allows us to study how the reward system in science influences the scientific community in stochastically selecting at each period its research agendas, and the long term resulting disciplines. We present some evidence on a decrease in the generation of new areas, a path dependency in specialization, and circumstances under which collapsing dynamics arise.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Carayol & Jean-Michel Dalle, 2003. "The ‘problem of problem choice’: A model of sequential knowledge production within scientific communities cientific communities," Working Papers of BETA 2003-12, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2003-12
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    File URL: http://www.beta-umr7522.fr/productions/publications/2003/2003-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Salter, Ammon J. & Martin, Ben R., 2001. "The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 509-532, March.
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    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Recombinant Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 331-360.
    4. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
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    6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Azomahou, Théophile & Mishra, Tapas, 2008. "Age dynamics and economic growth: Revisiting the nexus in a nonparametric setting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 67-71, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sequential Problem Choice; Stochastic Process; Tree; Graph Theory; Scientific Knowledge; Academics; Reward System;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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