Who Tries (and Who Succeeds) in Staying at the Forefront of Science: Evidence from the DNA-Editing Technology, CRISPR
70 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 17, 2017
Discovered in 2012, the DNA-editing technology CRISPR has already generated remarkable scientific breakthroughs and is predicted to win a Nobel Prize. Recognizing its potential, thousands of scientists have moved to adopt CRISPR – but not all that tried were successful. We constructed a novel data set to understand the characteristics of scientists who tried to adopt (experimentation) and who were successful in that attempt (conversion). We find variations in experimentation across scientists with different characteristics, but only relatively small variations in conversion. Interestingly, we find that some characteristics traditionally associated with adoption (e.g. proximity to the discoverer) have negligible impacts on experimentation but influence conversion, once we control for other factors. For those promoting technology adoption in industry or policy, our results suggest that focusing narrowly on adoption (without looking at experimentation and conversion separately) neglects important details that could hinder efforts to increase the pace or extent of technology adoption.
Keywords: Technology Adoption, CRISPR, Experimentation, Genetic Engineering
JEL Classification: O33, C81, D02
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation