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Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science?

Christian Catalini, Christian Fons-Rosen and Patrick Gaulé

No 898, Working Papers from Barcelona School of Economics

Abstract: We test how a reduction in travel cost affects the rate and direction of scientific research. Using a fine-grained, scientist-level dataset within chemistry (1991-2012), we find that after Southwest Airlines enters a new route, scientific collaboration increases by 50%, an effect that is magnified when weighting output by quality. The benefits from the lower fares, however, are not uniform across scientist types: younger scientists and scientists that are more productive than their local peers respond the most. Thus, cheaper flights, by reducing frictions otherwise induced by geography and allowing for additional face-to-face interactions, seem to enable better matches over distance.

Keywords: scientific collaboration; air travel; temporary co-location; face-to-face meetings (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L93 R4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-pke, nep-sog and nep-tre
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (22)

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Working Paper: Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science? (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science? (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Did cheaper flights change the direction of science? (2016) Downloads
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