A Field Experiment on Search Costs and the Formation of Scientific Collaborations

40 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014

See all articles by Kevin Boudreau

Kevin Boudreau

Northeastern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Tom Brady

Harvard University - Medical School; Harvard University - Massachusetts General Hospital

Ina Ganguli

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Center for International Development

Patrick Gaule

CERGE-EI

Eva Guinan

Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Tony Hollenberg

Harvard University - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: August 24, 2014

Abstract

Scientists typically self-organize into teams, matching with others to collaborate in the production of new knowledge. We present the results of a field experiment conducted at Harvard Medical School to understand the extent to which search costs affect matching among scientific collaborators. We generated exogenous variation in search costs for pairs of potential collaborators by randomly assigning individuals to 90-minute structured information-sharing sessions as part of a grant funding opportunity for biomedical researchers. We estimate that the treatment increases the baseline probability of grant co-application of a given pair of researchers by 75% (increasing the likelihood of a pair collaborating from 0.16 percent to 0.28 percent), with effects higher among those in the same specialization. The findings indicate that matching between scientists is subject to considerable frictions, even in the case of geographically-proximate scientists working in the same institutional context with ample access to common information and funding opportunities.

Keywords: Science, teams, matching, search, self-organising collaborations

JEL Classification: 03, C93

Suggested Citation

Boudreau, Kevin and Brady, Tom and Ganguli, Ina and Gaule, Patrick and Guinan, Eva and Hollenberg, Tony and Lakhani, Karim R., A Field Experiment on Search Costs and the Formation of Scientific Collaborations (August 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2486068 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2486068

Kevin Boudreau (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

805 Columbus Ave, Interdisciplinary Sci & Eng Bldg
Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevinboudreau.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Tom Brady

Harvard University - Medical School

25 Shattuck St
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Harvard University - Massachusetts General Hospital

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
United States

Ina Ganguli

University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Center for International Development ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-9066 (Phone)

Patrick Gaule

CERGE-EI ( email )

P.O. Box 882
7 Politickych veznu
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://www.cerge-ei.cz

Eva Guinan

Harvard Medical School ( email )

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue, Suite M1B29
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-632-4932 (Phone)
617-632-3770 (Fax)

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ( email )

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue, Suite M1B29
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-632-4932 (Phone)
617-632-3770 (Fax)

Tony Hollenberg

Harvard University - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, 02215
United States

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6741 (Phone)

Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
377
Abstract Views
3,420
rank
79,150
PlumX Metrics