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Researcher Mobility and Scientific Performance (RMSP)


This project aims to develop an empirical framework to evaluate the impact of various forms of mobility on the performance of scientists. Scientific careers are often characterized by a change of jobs between institutions and temporary periods of works in other organizations. It is usually believed that this set up increases the performance of researchers and large number of policies have been developed (especially in recent years) to support researcher mobility. However, very little systematic evidence has been put forward to support the view that mobility facilitates productivity. This is mainly due to the difficulty in reconstructing the career of scientists and allocating in a correct way inputs and outputs of scientific activities to build panel data that would allow one to tackle the modeling problems connected with the endogeneity between mobility – productivity – career. New data access and the availability of new data mining techniques, however, have opened the door to the possibility of creating sufficiently large and detailed databases from scientists CVs to carry out the econometric estimation.

To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to develop a systematic approach to the assessment of the interactions between scientific mobility and performance. The project will develop a model for the analysis of scientific mobility in its multifaceted formats and an empirical strategy to implement on the basis of two databases on hard sciences that are under construction in another project of the research team. We also would like to assess the feasibility of applying the model and econometrics to the case of economics using the data stored in REPEC.

The project results will have direct policy relevance as the structure of the research project is organized with the intention of providing answers to policy relevant questions. For example, the project can provide insights into questions such as the followings: Is it true that scientists who are not obliged (or choose not to) to move away from their PhD granting institution have a lower performance compared to those who do move? Is mobility di per se good or are certain types of mobility more prone to increase the productivity of researchers? How long should a postdoc from a lower performing institution (region/country) spend in a highly reputed institution to obtain a significant and persistent positive effect on his/her productivity? The answers to these types of questions can directly inform academic career regulations (e.g. the need to move out of one’s PhD granting institution –the US system; the need to move to a different institution to get promoted –the German system), and policy development (e.g. postdoctoral grants that allow a return to the destination institution 5/7 years after the first stay).



Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 09:49