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

See all articles by Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL); Lab for Innovation Science at Harvard

Samantha Zyontz

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: November 17, 2017

Abstract

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

Thompson, Neil and Zyontz, Samantha, Who Tries (and Who Succeeds) in Staying at the Forefront of Science: Evidence from the DNA-Editing Technology, CRISPR (November 17, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073227 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3073227

Neil Thompson (Contact Author)

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) ( email )

32 Vassar Street
G766
Cambridge, MA MA 02142
United States
617-324-6029 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.neil-t.com

Lab for Innovation Science at Harvard ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Samantha Zyontz

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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