nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2024‒01‒15
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström, Axventure AB

  1. Money, Time, and Grant Design By Kyle Myers; Wei Yang Tham
  2. New Facts and Data about Professors and their Research By Kyle R. Myers; Wei Yang Tham; Jerry Thursby; Marie Thursby; Nina Cohodes; Karim Lakhani; Rachel Mural; Yilun Xu

  1. By: Kyle Myers; Wei Yang Tham
    Abstract: The design of research grants has been hypothesized to be a useful tool for influencing researchers and their science. We test this by conducting two thought experiments in a nationally representative survey of academic researchers. First, we offer participants a hypothetical grant with randomized attributes and ask how the grant would influence their research strategy. Longer grants increase researchers' willingness to take risks, but only among tenured professors, which suggests that job security and grant duration are complements. Both longer and larger grants reduce researchers' focus on speed, which suggests a significant amount of racing in science is in pursuit of resources. But along these and other strategic dimensions, the effect of grant design is small. Second, we identify researchers' indifference between the two grant design parameters and find they are very unwilling to trade off the amount of funding a grant provides in order to extend the duration of the grant $\unicode{x2014}$ money is much more valuable than time. Heterogeneity in this preference can be explained with a straightforward model of researchers' utility. Overall, our results suggest that the design of research grants is more relevant to selection effects on the composition of researchers pursuing funding, as opposed to having large treatment effects on the strategies of researchers that receive funding.
    Date: 2023–12
  2. By: Kyle R. Myers; Wei Yang Tham; Jerry Thursby; Marie Thursby; Nina Cohodes; Karim Lakhani; Rachel Mural; Yilun Xu
    Abstract: We introduce a new survey of professors at roughly 150 of the most research-intensive institutions of higher education in the US. We document seven new features of how research-active professors are compensated, how they spend their time, and how they perceive their research pursuits: (1) there is more inequality in earnings within fields than there is across fields; (2) institutions, ranks, tasks, and sources of earnings can account for roughly half of the total variation in earnings; (3) there is significant variation across fields in the correlations between earnings and different kinds of research output, but these account for a small amount of earnings variation; (4) measuring professors' productivity in terms of output-per-year versus output-per-research-hour can yield substantial differences; (5) professors' beliefs about the riskiness of their research are best predicted by their fundraising intensity, their risk-aversion in their personal lives, and the degree to which their research involves generating new hypotheses; (6) older and younger professors have very different research outputs and time allocations, but their intended audiences are quite similar; (7) personal risk-taking is highly predictive of professors' orientation towards applied, commercially-relevant research.
    Date: 2023–12

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