Estimating Spillovers from Publicly Funded R&D: Evidence from the US Department of Energy

with Lauren Lanahan

American Economic Review (forthcoming)

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The spillovers from public R&D grants are large and reach far across geographic and technological space, and focusing only on firms that directly receive grants causes you to miss a lot of what's going on.

Potentially Long-lasting Effects of the Pandemic on Scientists

with Jian Gao, Yian Yin, Karim Lakhani, and Dashun Wang

Nature Communications (2021), 12, 6188

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The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decline in the number of "new" research projects initiated by academic researchers.

The Elasticity of Science

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (2020), 12(4), 103–134

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The adjustment costs of science -- getting scientists to study what you want them to -- are very large.

Unequal Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Scientists

with Wei Yang Tham, Yian Yin, Nina Cohodes, Jerry Thursby, Marie Thursby, Peter Schiffer, Joseph Walsh, Karim Lakhani, and Dashun Wang 

Nature Human Behaviour (2020), 4, 880–883

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Scientists experienced a wide range of disruptions to their work in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the largest declines amongst those in the "bench sciences," female scientists, and researchers with young children at home.

Endogenous Productivity of Demand-Induced R&D: Evidence from Pharmaceuticals

with Mark Pauly

RAND Journal of Economics (2019), 50(3), 591–614

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When people want more new drugs, firms are happy to invest in ideas that cost more. And as they run out of "low hanging fruit" while demand keeps growing, R&D costs will naturally grow.



How Important is Editorial Gatekeeping? Evidence from Top Biomedical Journals

with Josh Krieger and Ariel Stern

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Major biomedical journals tend to publish papers on the same scientific topics that their editors studied, but this effect likely plays a very small role in the publishing process -- increasing the churn of editors (e.g., via shorter tenures at journals) wouldn't change things much.

No Free Lunch? Welfare Analysis of Firms Selling Through Expert Intermediaries

with Matt Grennan, Ashley Swanson, and Aaron Chatterji

Is it good or bad when firms take doctors out to lunch? In the case we study -- cholesterol-lowering statins -- it seems like it's good for consumers because it drives certain doctors to prescribe more of these drugs that they'd otherwise not use enough.

Producing and Steering Researchers

with Eugenie Dugoua, Todd Gerarden, and Jacquelyn Pless

What does it cost the government to produce new researchers focused on specific technologies?



Which Scientists Shifted their Research Focus to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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The adjustment costs of science played an important role in shaping which scientists decided to shift the focus of their research to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Towards Recovery: Scientists with Better Ratings of their Institution’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic have More Optimistic Forecasts about their Future Research

with Karim Lakhani and Dashun Wang

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We show how scientists’ forecasts of pandemic-related disruptions to their research depend on the eventual length of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists that approve of their institution’s response to the pandemic have more optimistic forecasts, even when controlling for their current level of disruptions and many other confounding factors.

Pharmaceutical Trends, Not What They Seem

with Mark Pauly

In Managing Discovery in the Life Sciences, eds. Philip Rea, Mark Pauly, and Lawton Burns, pp. 18-42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018

The pharmaceutical industry might be doing ok despite many concerns.

The Direction of Biomedical Science

Prepared for NBER-IFS International Network on the Value of Medical Research

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How should the allocation of science in the economy be determined? How do scientists choose to pursue different types of trajectories? How do public policies influence these macro- and micro-level outcomes? This survey outlines longstanding questions and recent research surrounding the economics of science with a focus on biomedical research.