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The Production Of Scientific Knowledge In Italy : Evidence In Theoretical, Applied And Technical Sciences

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The paper presents preliminary empirical evidence on the production of scientific knowledge in Italy, in theoretical sciences (physics), applied sciences (chemistry) and technical sciences (engineer ing and petrology). It elaborates on an original dataset of publications and citations for 2,673 Italian researchers, distributed across 61 universities, covering the years between 1990 and 2004. According to a well-established tradition of studies in the economics of science, the results show that individual distribution is quite asymmetric, with very few researchers accounting for a great amount of scientific output. More interestingly, the paper also shows that there are important differences in terms of asymmetric distribution when the different disciplines, universities and academic positions of the researchers are compared. These differences open the way to interpretation in terms of two main factors. Firstly, the various disciplines can be characterised by specific knowledge bases, learning practices, organisation of scientific labour, and communication norms. Secondly, specific weaknesses in the hiring, incentive and monitoring schemes at discipline and university level can explain different degrees of asymmetry. Both these factors have important implications for a research agenda on the governance of science. Finally, the paper shows that, at the aggregate level, scientific productivity benefit from a concentration of R&D expenditures only to a minor extent, and subj ect to decreasing returns. The effect of externalities stemming from R&D investments is limited. The scope of the concentration of R&D resources can therefore be questioned.

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  • Patrucco, Pier Paolo, 2006. "The Production Of Scientific Knowledge In Italy : Evidence In Theoretical, Applied And Technical Sciences," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200601, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:200601
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    File URL: http://www.est.unito.it/do/home.pl/Download?doc=/allegati_wp/wp2006dip_l_b/1_wp_momigliano.pdf
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    1. Senker, Jacqueline, 1995. "Tacit Knowledge and Models of Innovation," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 425-447.
    2. Cowan, Robin & David, Paul A & Foray, Dominique, 2000. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 211-253, June.
    3. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cristiano Antonelli & Pier Paolo Patrucco & Federica Rossi, 2010. "The Economics of Knowledge Interaction and the Changing Role of Universities," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Innovation and Services, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2006. "The Economics of University: a Knowledge Governance Approach," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200602, University of Turin.
    3. Cristiano Antonelli, 2008. "The new economics of the university: a knowledge governance approach," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 1-22, February.

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