The Elasticity of Science

62 Pages Posted: 29 May 2018 Last revised: 7 Oct 2018

See all articles by Kyle Myers

Kyle Myers

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Date Written: August 22, 2018


This paper estimates the degree to which scientists are willing to change the direction of their work in exchange for resources. Novel data from the National Institutes of Health is used to estimate an entry model that accounts for strategic interactions. Inducing a scientist to change their direction by 1 standard deviation, a qualitatively small difference, requires a four-fold increase in funds, an extra $1 million per year. But at current levels, the costs and benefits of directed versus undirected research appear to be quite similar.

Keywords: economics of science

JEL Classification: H50, I23, O31, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Myers, Kyle, The Elasticity of Science (August 22, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Kyle Myers (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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