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Frontier knowledge and scientific production: evidence from the collapse of international science

Iaria, Alessandro, Schwarz, Carlo and Waldinger, Fabian (2017) Frontier knowledge and scientific production: evidence from the collapse of international science. CEP Discussion Papers (CEPDP1506). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

We show that WWI and the subsequent boycott against Central scientists severely interrupted international scientific cooperation. After 1914, citations to recent research from abroad decreased and paper titles became less similar (evaluated by Latent Semantic Analysis), suggesting a reduction in international knowledge flows. Reduced international scientific cooperation led to a decline in the production of basic science and its application in new technology. Specifically, we compare productivity changes for scientists who relied on frontier research from abroad, to changes for scientists who relied on frontier research from home. After 1914, scientists who relied on frontier research from abroad published fewer papers in top scientific journals, produced less Nobel Prize-nominated research, introduced fewer novel scientific words, and introduced fewer novel words that appeared in the text of subsequent patent grants. The productivity of scientists who relied on top 1% research declined twice as much as the productivity of scientists who relied on top 3% research. Furthermore, highly prolific scientists experienced the starkest absolute productivity declines. This suggests that access to the very best research is key for scientific and technological progress

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > Q Science (General)
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I23 - Higher Education Research Institutions
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J4 - Particular Labor Markets > J44 - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N30 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: General, International, or Comparative (Migration)
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N40 - General, International, or Comparative
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 16:55
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 23:03
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/86599

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