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Prizes and Productivity- How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output

Kirk Doran and George Borjas

No 22, Working Papers from University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics

Abstract: Knowledge generation is key to economic growth, and scientific prizes are designed to encourage it. But how does winning a prestigious prize affect future output? We compare the productivity of Fields medalists (winners of the top mathematics prize) to that of similarly brilliant contenders. The two groups have similar publication rates until the award year, after which the winners’ productivity declines. The medalists begin to “play the field,” studying unfamiliar topics at the expense of writing papers. It appears that tournaments can have large post-prize effects on the effort allocation of knowledge producers.

Keywords: Knoweledge; Productivity; Prizes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J22 J24 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2013-08, Revised 2013-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eff, nep-hrm and nep-sog
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

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Related works:
Journal Article: Prizes and Productivity: How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Prizes and Productivity: How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output (2013) Downloads
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