Seminars and Panels

How Economics Shapes Science

Professor Paula Stephan

Sep 10, 2015
11:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
232 Philip G. Hoffman Hall

The talk explores how public research organizations and scientists respond to incentives and costs. It’s a good news/bad news story: get incentives and costs right and one can enhance productivity and use resources more efficiently. Get them wrong and there are severe consequences for productivity and efficiency. Examples of how incentives and costs affect behavior are provided primarily for the United States. The discussion of costs examines how costs play a role in determining where research is done, how research is done, who does the research, the kinds of materials that are used, when the research is done and what research is done. The talk then focuses on the various forms that monetary and non-monetary incentives take in science and how they shape the behavior of both scientists and the institutions where they work. It closes with a discussion of examples of areas where outcomes in science are inefficient. These include incentives for submitting papers to top tier journals such as Science and Nature, incentives for constructing new buildings, incentives that encourage scientists to be risk adverse, and incentives and costs that lead the United States to 'over produce' PhDs in a number of fields. Read more...