An Inside Look: Modeling Heterogeneity in the Organization of Scientific Work

51 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2017

See all articles by Hazhir Rahmandad

Hazhir Rahmandad

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

Keyvan Vakili

London Business School

Date Written: December 7, 2017

Abstract

Although academic scientists work under similar institutions, norms, and incentives, they vary greatly in how they organize their research efforts and in their outputs. To understand this heterogeneity, we model scientists as publication-maximizing agents and identify two distinct organization patterns that are optimum under different parameters. When the net productivity of a research staff (e.g., PhD students and postdocs) is positive, the funded research model with an entrepreneurial scientist and a large team dominates. When the research staff’s costs exceed its productivity benefits, the hands-on research approach is optimal. Our model provides an explanatory framework for significant heterogeneity of scientists across fields in research funding, supply of scientific workforce, team size, publication output, perceived relevance gap, and stratification patterns over time. Exploratory empirical analysis finds consistent patterns of time allocation and publication in a survey of faculty in US universities. Using data from an original survey, we also find causal effects consistent with the model’s prediction on how negative shocks to research staff — for example, due to visa or health problems — differentially impact research output under the two modes of organization.

Keywords: Economics of Science, Heterogeneity, Publication, Research Funding

JEL Classification: I23

Suggested Citation

Rahmandad, Hazhir and Vakili, Keyvan, An Inside Look: Modeling Heterogeneity in the Organization of Scientific Work (December 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084070 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3084070

Hazhir Rahmandad (Contact Author)

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

100 Main st.
E62-442
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Keyvan Vakili

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
46
Abstract Views
182
PlumX Metrics