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How Rapidly Does Science Leak Out? A Study of the Diffusion of Fundamental Ideas

James Adams and J. Roger Clemmons

Journal of Human Capital, 2013, vol. 7, issue 3, 191 - 229

Abstract: More rapid diffusion of science increases technological opportunity and innovation. To measure the diffusion of science, we use the lag between citing and cited scientific papers. With data from 1981 to 1999, the lag averages 6 years, increases with citation delay, and decreases with firm research. Additional data from 1980 to 2010 show that the lag increases with complexity of papers, age of lines of research and fields, and publication-submission lags; decreases with team size; and shows no evidence of strategic delay. Field differences in characteristics help explain field differences in citation lags, but deployment of specialized human capital among sectors also matters.

Date: 2013
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