Research Cycles

Bramoullé, Yann and Saint-Paul, Gilles (2010) Research Cycles. Journal of Economic Theory, 145 (5). pp. 1890-1920.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/26050

Abstract

This paper studies the dynamics of fundamental research. We develop a simple model where researchers allocate their effort between improving existing fields and inventing new ones. A key assumption is that scientists derive utility from recognition from other scientists. We show that the economy can be either in a regime where new fields are constantly invented, and then converges to a steady state, or in a cyclical regime where periods of innovation alternate with periods of exploitation. Our analysis provides a rigorous foundation to the Kuhnian theory of scientific evolution. We show that scientists' care for reputation has a strong impact on research dynamics and tends to favor innovation. Especially, innovation fads may emerge. We also study welfare and find that the academic reputational reward system can help align scientists' short-term incentives with society's long-term interests.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: September 2010
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research dynamics, Innovation cycles, Scientific fads
JEL codes: O39 - Other
C61 - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2014 17:27
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:22
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:26050
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/15350

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