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Reputation and competence in publicly funded scientific research

Listed author(s):
  • Ashish Arora

    (Carnegie Mellon Univ)

  • Alfonso Gambardella

    (University of Urbino)

This paper studies an unusually comprehensive data-set of the universe of research groups that applied to an Italian 1989 93 research programme in biotechnology and bio-instrumentation. We develop a model to test whether past publications influence the expected grants obtained by the units in this programme, and hence their publication output. We find that this effect is important, and suggest that institutional features of resource allocation in public research may have serious implications for long term divergence in research performance. We also find that to maximise the total expected publications of the programme about 85% of its budget should be allocated to the top quartile of the selected units (about 10% of applicants) ranked according to past publications. Our estimated elasticity of publications on budget is 0.6, and we find evidence of a trade-off between publications and "industrial transferability": all else held constant, projects conducted with industrial applications in mind produce about 20% fewer publications.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 9605002.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 27 May 1996
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9605002
Note: Type of Document - PS; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on PostScript; pages: 29; figures: request from author. Appendices and figures not included. Contact author for them.
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  1. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-132, March.
  2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1991. "Academic research and industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, February.
  3. Nelson, Richard R, 1986. "Institutions Supporting Technical Advance in Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 186-189, May.
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