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MPIDS Advances

MPIDS Advances: The returns to scientific specialization

  • Date: Aug 30, 2017
  • Time: 14:15 - 15:15
  • Speaker: Dr. Orion Penner
  • Chair of Innovation and IP Policy École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS)
  • Room: Prandtl Lecture Hall
  • Host: MPIDS
  • Contact: marco.mazza@ds.mpg.de
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.
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