This paper identifies the degree to which scientists are willing to change the direction of their work in exchange for resources. Data from the National Institutes of Health are used to estimate how scientists respond to targeted funding opportunities. Inducing a scientist to change their direction by a small amount—to work on marginally different topics—requires a substantial amount of funding in expectation. The switching costs of science are large. The productivity of grants is also estimated, and it appears the additional costs of targeted research may be more than offset by more productive scientists pursuing these grants.
"The Elasticity of Science."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
National Government Expenditures and Health
Higher Education; Research Institutions
Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes