Frontier Knowledge and Scientific Production: Evidence from the Collapse of International Science

111 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017

See all articles by Alessandro Iaria

Alessandro Iaria

University of Bristol

Carlo Schwarz

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Fabian Waldinger

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2017

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.

JEL Classification: I23, J44, N3, N30, N4, N40, O3, O31, O5

Suggested Citation

Iaria, Alessandro and Schwarz, Carlo and Waldinger, Fabian, Frontier Knowledge and Scientific Production: Evidence from the Collapse of International Science (October 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12383, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057317

Alessandro Iaria (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

Carlo Schwarz

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Fabian Waldinger

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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