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Colocation and Scientific Collaboration: Evidence from a Field Experiment Kevin Boudreau, Tom Brady, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaule, Eva Guinan, Karim Lakhani,

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Presentation on theme: "Colocation and Scientific Collaboration: Evidence from a Field Experiment Kevin Boudreau, Tom Brady, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaule, Eva Guinan, Karim Lakhani,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Colocation and Scientific Collaboration: Evidence from a Field Experiment Kevin Boudreau, Tom Brady, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaule, Eva Guinan, Karim Lakhani, Tony Hollenberg Comments by: Nicola Lacetera (University of Toronto & NBER)

2 Experimental Economics

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4 What tradeoffs are triggered by the intervention?

5 Economics of scientific colocation & collaboration Tradeoff 1: Incentives (selection) versus…? Implicit incentive to apply with someone else Same room + same clinical area + previous copub.  lower costs (of both info flow and collaboration)  higher incentives Researchers “select” into participating to sessions (for collaborative grants) – Comparison group?  What (else) might we expect? What countervailing forces? – No effects/negative effects: info updating? Free riding on info? Different functions of these meetings (e.g. commitment to meet and move previously discussed projects further)? – Guiding model/theoretical framework to lay out tradeoffs and generate testable predictions – More “anecdotal” evidence of what’s going on in these sessions, who knows who, etc.

6 Economics of scientific colocation & collaboration Tradeoff 2: Cost-benefit analysis Help assess efficiency (frictions) as well as generalizability of intervention Costs Opportunity cost of time for researchers (time length of meetings, time to write grants, unit cost of time, #of researchers) Opportunity costs of reviewers (time length of reviewing, #reviewers, #applications, cost of unit time) Compare to alternative mechanisms (experimental or “natural”)?

7 Economics of scientific colocation & collaboration Tradeoff 2: Cost-benefit analysis Help assess efficiency (frictions) as well as generalizability of intervention Benefits Quantity / quality of outcomes from collaborations – Quantify value of a publication/citation? – Longer-term outcomes. As first step, may use secondary sources (e.g. “conversion ratios from collaboration to publication/citations from other studies) Implicit incentive to apply with someone else – Baseline/counterfactuals. What did the non-collaborating scientists do? Insight also into substitution effects  Cost per unit of outcome? (e.g. and shameless self-prom from ARC intervention: $22-$55 per additional blood unit collected; lower bound benefit per unit: ~$1,000)

8 Some technical questions Structure of errors and clustering By room b/c main experimental unit: clusters – Corrections for small number of clusters – see Cameron et al.’s (RESTAT 2008) Experimental condition X non-experimental variables Multiple hp. testing and Bonferroni correction – Fink-McConnell-Volmer (HSPH WP 2011) Nonlinear specifications? Probit/logit (also corrected for rare events)

9 Summary and ideas for next steps Very nice opportunity to explore the economics of scientific colocation and collaboration What countervailing forces? Theory to help distinguish predictions on effects of colocation on scientific activity Efficiency? Is favouring collaboration through this program worth the cost?


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