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FEAR OF NOVELTY: A MODEL OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY WITH STRATEGIC UNCERTAINTY

Damien Besancenot () and Radu Vranceanu ()

Economic Inquiry, 2015, vol. 53, issue 2, 1132-1139

Abstract: type="main" xml:id="ecin12200-abs-0001"> This paper analyzes the production of fundamental research as a coordination game played by scholars. In the model, scholars decide to adopt a new idea only if they believe that a critical mass of peers is following a similar research strategy. If researchers observe only a noisy idiosyncratic signal of the true scientific potential of a new idea, we show that the game presents a single threshold equilibrium. In this environment, fundamental research proceeds with large structural breaks followed by long periods of time in which new ideas are unsuccessful. The likelihood of a new idea emerging depends on various parameters, including the rewards of working in the old paradigm, the critical mass of researchers required to create a new school of thought and scholars' ability to properly assess the scientific value of new ideas . ( JEL O31, C72, A14)

Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Fear of novelty: a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Fear of novelty: a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty (2014) Downloads
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