MPIDS Advances: The returns to scientific specialization
14:15 - 15:15
Dr. Orion Penner
Chair of Innovation and IP Policy École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS)
Prandtl Lecture Hall
While it is well established that researchers specialize, the extent to which they specialize has gone largely unexamined. We have develop an approach for measuring the extent to which a researcher is specialized, and in turn, use it to quantify the returns to specialization. In this we exploit a longitu-dinal dataset of 20,000+ biomedical researchers, each starting his or her career 1975 or later. Analyz-ing this dataset we find there are significant returns to specialization - at mean career age and pub-lishing rate, a one-standard deviation increase in specialization leads to a 25 per cent increase in cita-tions. We further observe that the returns to specialization are greatest early in a researcher’s career and decrease as a researcher ages. Similarly, returns are greater when publishing at a lower rate and decrease at higher rates of publishing.