How Economics Shapes Science

How Economics Shapes Science

by Paula Stephan
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674049713

ISBN-13: 9780674049710

Pub. Date: 01/09/2012

Publisher: Harvard University Press

The beauty of science may be pure and eternal, but the practice of science costs money. And scientists, being human, respond to incentives and costs, in money and glory. Choosing a research topic, deciding what papers to write and where to publish them, sticking with a familiar area or going into something new—the payoff may be tenure or a job at a highly

Overview

The beauty of science may be pure and eternal, but the practice of science costs money. And scientists, being human, respond to incentives and costs, in money and glory. Choosing a research topic, deciding what papers to write and where to publish them, sticking with a familiar area or going into something new—the payoff may be tenure or a job at a highly ranked university or a prestigious award or a bump in salary. The risk may be not getting any of that.

At a time when science is seen as an engine of economic growth, Paula Stephan brings a keen understanding of the ongoing cost-benefit calculations made by individuals and institutions as they compete for resources and reputation. She shows how universities offload risks by increasing the percentage of non-tenure-track faculty, requiring tenured faculty to pay salaries from outside grants, and staffing labs with foreign workers on temporary visas. With funding tight, investigators pursue safe projects rather than less fundable ones with uncertain but potentially path-breaking outcomes. Career prospects in science are increasingly dismal for the young because of ever-lengthening apprenticeships, scarcity of permanent academic positions, and the difficulty of getting funded.

Vivid, thorough, and bold, How Economics Shapes Science highlights the growing gap between the haves and have-nots—especially the vast imbalance between the biomedical sciences and physics/engineering—and offers a persuasive vision of a more productive, more creative research system that would lead and benefit the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674049710
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/09/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Preface xi

List of Abbreviations xiii

1 What Does Economics Have to Do with Science? 1

2 Puzzles and Priority 16

3 Money 35

4 The Production of Research: People and Patterns of Collaboration 61

5 The Production of Research: Equipment and Materials 82

6 Funding for Research 111

7 The Market for Scientists and Engineers 151

8 The Foreign Born 183

9 The Relationship of Science to Economic Growth 203

10 Can We Do Better? 228

Appendix 243

Notes 247

References 307

Acknowledgments 349

Index 353

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