nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2013‒09‒26
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Prizes and Productivity: How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output By George J. Borjas; Kirk B. Doran
  2. State Incentives for Innovation, Star Scientists and Jobs: Evidence from Biotech By Enrico Moretti; Daniel J. Wilson
  3. How to boost the PHD labour market? : facts from the PHD system side By Mónica Benito; Rosario Romera

  1. By: George J. Borjas; Kirk B. Doran
    Abstract: Knowledge generation is key to economic growth, and scientific prizes are designed to encourage it. But how does winning a prestigious prize affect future output? We compare the productivity of Fields medalists (winners of the top mathematics prize) to that of similarly brilliant contenders. The two groups have similar publication rates until the award year, after which the winners’ productivity declines. The medalists begin to “play the field,” studying unfamiliar topics at the expense of writing papers. It appears that tournaments can have large post-prize effects on the effort allocation of knowledge producers.
    JEL: J22 J24 J33 O31
    Date: 2013–09
  2. By: Enrico Moretti; Daniel J. Wilson
    Abstract: We evaluate the effects of state-provided financial incentives for biotech companies, which are part of a growing trend of placed-based policies designed to spur innovation clusters. We estimate that the adoption of subsidies for biotech employers by a state raises the number of star biotech scientists in that state by about 15 percent over a three year period. A 10% decline in the user cost of capital induced by an increase in R&D tax incentives raises the number of stars by 22%. Most of the gains are due to the relocation of star scientist to adopting states, with limited effect on the productivity of incumbent scientists already in the state. The gains are concentrated among private sector inventors. We uncover little effect of subsidies on academic researchers, consistent with the fact that their incentives are unaffected. Our estimates indicate that the effect on overall employment in the biotech sector is of comparable magnitude to that on star scientists. Consistent with a model where workers are fairly mobile across states, we find limited effects on salaries in the industry. We uncover large effects on employment in the non-traded sector due to a sizable multiplier effect, with the largest impact on employment in construction and retail. Finally, we find mixed evidence of a displacement effect on states that are geographically close, or states that economically close as measured by migration flows.
    JEL: H0 J0 R0
    Date: 2013–08
  3. By: Mónica Benito; Rosario Romera
    Abstract: OCDE publications in the early 1990s on Science-Technology-Economy alerted several member countries on the prediction of a future shortage of skilled researchers and its possible impact on the economy. Consequently, on the decade 1998-2009 the number of doctorates handed out in all OECD countries grew by 31%. Doctoral holders are not only the most qualified in terms of educational attainment, but also those who are specifically trained to conduct research. Although the unemployment rate for doctoral holders is stabilized around 3% since 2006, nowadays it is becoming more and more difficult for them to find a job corresponding to their qualification. The recruitment of PhD graduates in the private sector (business, industry) should be considered a key avenue in converting research into commercialized innovations, technological progress and productivity growth of the countries. Universities and R&D and innovation policy makers are committed in boosting the PhD labour market. This paper discusses the diagnosis of the situation of the PhD job market, the careers and mobility of doctorates holders along the OCDE countries. Having analyzed the employment of PhD holders in the private sector and bearing in mind that most of the doctoral programs conform to a classical old model, our interest is focused on exploring significant relationships between the intensity of graduate’s employment in private sector and new strategies implemented in recently upgraded doctoral systems. Conclusions relating recent reforms in the PhD system established in some OECD countries and their PhD labour market are stated out. In this study we make intensive use of the data collected through a collaborative project launched by the OECD with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Eurostat (OECD/UIS/Eurostat project) aimed at developing internationally comparable indicators on the careers and mobility of doctorate holders in 2009, the CDH project
    Keywords: Career of doctorate holders, PhD, R&D and innovation, Reforms in Doctoral Education, University-governemnt-industry links Handle: RePEc:cte:wsrepe:ARELLENAR
    Date: 2013–09

This nep-sog issue is ©2013 by Jonas Holmström. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.