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Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?

Pierre Azoulay, Christian Fons-Rosen and Joshua Graff Zivin

American Economic Review, 2019, vol. 109, issue 8, 2889-2920

Abstract: We examine how the premature death of eminent life scientists alters the vitality of their fields. While the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases after the death of a star scientist, the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases markedly. This surge in contributions from outsiders draws upon a different scientific corpus and is disproportionately likely to be highly cited. While outsiders appear reluctant to challenge leadership within a field when the star is alive, the loss of a luminary provides an opportunity for fields to evolve in new directions that advance the frontier of knowledge.

JEL-codes: I23 O31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20161574
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Related works:
Working Paper: Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Does science advance one funeral at a time? (2015) Downloads
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