The Elasticity of Science
59 Pages Posted: 29 May 2018 Last revised: 10 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 8, 2019
This paper identifies the degree to which scientists are willing to change the direction of their work in exchange for resources. Data from the National Institutes of Health is used to estimate how scientists respond to targeted funding opportunities. Inducing a scientist to change their direction by a small amount – to work on marginally different topics – requires a substantial amount funding in expectation. The switching costs of science are large. The productivity of grants is also estimated, and it appears the additional costs of targeted research may be more than offset by more productive scientists pursuing these grants.
Keywords: economics of science
JEL Classification: H50, I23, O31, O33, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation