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Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity

Carillo, Maria Rosaria and Papagni, Erasmo and Capitanio, Fabian (2007): Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity. Forthcoming in:

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Abstract

Recent economic research has focused on the economic effects of the social environment. In the economic literature, important phenomena are considered, at least in part, as results of the individual's social environment. There is a similar revival of interest among economists who analyse the world of science and basic research. In this case as well, the environment plays a key role in the agent's behaviour. This paper makes an an empirical analysis of the influence of social interactions on scientists' productivity. In the econometric analysis we investigate the aggregate importance of this phenomenon through the analysis of data on publications in four scientific fields of seven advanced countries. We find that social interactions among researchers have positive effects on a scientist's productivity and that there is a U-shaped relation between the size of a scientific network and individual productivity. We interpret this result as providing evidence for threshold externalities and increasing returns to scale.

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