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Fear of novelty: a model of scientific discovery with strategic uncertainty

Damien Besancenot () and Radu Vranceanu ()

CEPN Working Papers from HAL

Abstract: 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 scientifi c 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 scientifi c value of new ideas.

Keywords: Global games; Scienti c discovery; Strategic complementarity; Strategic un- certainty; Economics of science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe and nep-sog
Date: 2014-12-26
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-essec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01117929
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Related works:
Journal Article: 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 (2015) Downloads
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