Stars and Brokers: Knowledge Spillovers among Medical Scientists
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This paper empirically investigates the importance of network position for the productivity of scientists. I examine the role played by scientists who act as “bridges” on the productivity of their coauthors. I propose a pair-specific and asymmetric measure, called brokerage degree, based on the share of links of a scientist that provide exclusive access to new scientists to his coauthor. Using individual-level panel data for medical scientists covering 19 million publications between 1965 and 2009, I construct the coauthorship network. I exploit sudden and unexpected deaths of stars as a natural experiment which exogenously breaks network links and changes the local network structure. My results reveal heterogeneity in the impact of the death of a coauthor: depending on the brokerage degree between the deceased star scientist and his coauthor, the relative loss in annual publications can be up to 33% for surviving coauthors. Measuring brokerage in terms of new topics a star provides exclusive access to confirms that access to knowledge embodied in scientists further away plays a crucial role in scientific production.
Date: 19 October 2017, 16:30 (Thursday, 2nd week, Michaelmas 2017)
Venue: Manor Road Building, Manor Road OX1 3UQ
Venue Details: Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Myra Mohnen (University of Essex)
Organising department: Department of Economics
Part of: Applied Microeconomics Seminar
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editors: Erin Saunders, Anne Pouliquen