nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2020‒04‒06
three papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. The Risk of Caution: Evidence from an R&D Experiment By Richard Carson; Joshua S. Graff Zivin; Jordan Louviere; Sally Sadoff; Jeffrey G. Shrader Jr
  2. What Matters in Funding: The Value of Research Coherence and Alignment in Evaluators' Decisions By Charles Ayoubi; Sandra Barbosu; Michele Pezzoni; Fabiana Visentin
  3. Реформа государственной системы проектной деятельности, 2018-2019 годы By Polterovich, Victor

  1. By: Richard Carson; Joshua S. Graff Zivin; Jordan Louviere; Sally Sadoff; Jeffrey G. Shrader Jr
    Abstract: Innovation is important for firm performance and broader economic growth. But breakthrough innovations necessarily require greater risk-taking than more incremental approaches. To understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions, we conducted three experiments with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology. Study participants were asked to choose whether to fund hypothetical research projects using a process that mirrors real-world research and development funding decisions. The experiments provided financial rewards that disproportionately encouraged the choice of higher-risk projects. Despite these incentives, most participants chose lower-risk projects at the expense of projects more likely to generate a large payoff. We also elicited participants’ personal risk preferences and found that decision-makers who are more tolerant of risk were more likely to fund breakthrough projects. The results suggest that the risk preferences of managers in charge of research investments may have an oversized effect on the rate of breakthrough innovation and the profitability of firms.
    JEL: D8 G11 O3
    Date: 2020–03
  2. By: Charles Ayoubi (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne); Sandra Barbosu (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation); Michele Pezzoni (Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, GREDEG, France); Fabiana Visentin (Maastricht University; UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: Entrepreneurs, managers, and scientists participate in competitive selection processes to obtain resources. The project they propose is a crucial aspect of their success. In this paper, we focus on the selection of scientists applying for academic funding by submitting a research proposal. We argue that two core dimensions of the research proposal affect the probability of funding success: its coherence with the applicant's previous work, and its alignment with subjects of general interest for the scientific community. Employing a neural network algorithm, we analyze the text of 2,494 research proposals for a prestigious fellowship awarded to promising early-stage North American researchers. We find field-specific heterogeneity in the committees' evaluation. In life sciences and chemistry, evaluators value the research proposal's coherence and alignment, while in physics, evaluators weight more bibliometric indicators. Our results can be extended beyond the academic context to managerial implications in cases such as entrepreneurs and managers, submitting project proposals to investors.
    Keywords: Research trajectories, research funding, coherence, alignment
    JEL: I23 O38
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Polterovich, Victor
    Abstract: The reform of the project activity state system (PASS) carried out in Russia in 2018-2019 is analyzed on the basis of its comparison with the system of institutions of catching-up development (ICD). The expediency of their implementation in modern conditions is confirmed by the experience of Malaysia and Tatarstan. Relying on the IСD system, Malaysia has been able to achieve rapid economic growth, reduce inequality and make significant strides in diversifying production. Due to a system of indicative planning and consolidation of elites, Tatarstan has become one of the most successful regions in Russia. The PASS built now, like the ICD system, brings the task of forming and selecting large-scale projects outside ministries and creates an institutional framework for indicative planning. The next task is to define more precisely the order of interaction of project offices, expert councils of different levels, private companies, and to develop a methodology for drawing up forecasts and plans of development indicators. Civil society and trade union representatives should be involved in these activities. Functions of PASS should be expanded, it is necessary to replenish the list of national projects. Large-scale projects should be aimed at borrowing more advanced technologies, creating new value chains and diversifying the Russian economy. The government faces the task of promoting inter-regional and intercompany technology exchange. The "Science" project should be substantially redesigned, and a project on improving the national innovation system should be developed. It should include a system of sectorial research institutes as intermediaries between academic science and the research units of large firms. Ultimately, a Federal Agency for Development with broad credentials should be created, a system of rolling indicative planning should be formed, and all economic policies should be harmonized with the objectives of the plans.
    Keywords: development agency; indicative planning; economic growth; project office; competence center
    JEL: L52 O21 O25 P11 P21
    Date: 2020–03–17

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