Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?
AbstractWe examine how the premature death of eminent life scientists alters the vitality of their fields. While the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases after the death of a star scientist, the flow of articles by non-collaborators increases markedly. This surge in contributions from outsiders draws upon a different scientific corpus and is disproportionately likely to be highly cited. While outsiders appear reluctant to challenge leadership within a field when the star is alive, the loss of a luminary provides an opportunity for fields to evolve in new directions that advance the frontier of knowledge.
CitationAzoulay, Pierre, Christian Fons-Rosen, and Joshua S. Graff Zivin. 2019. "Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?" American Economic Review, 109 (8): 2889-2920. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20161574
- I23 Higher Education; Research Institutions
- O31 Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
- O33 Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes