Incentives for Researchers
The thesis examines incentives for scientists from a game-theoretic perspective: Chapter 1: We study a model of delegated research. A researcher’s success depends on their effort and their choice of research technology which is uncertain with respect to its quality. Researchers pursue individual...
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|Summary:||The thesis examines incentives for scientists from a game-theoretic perspective:
We study a model of delegated research. A researcher’s success depends on their effort and their choice of research technology which is uncertain with respect to its quality. Researchers pursue individual, rather than overall success, which yields a preference for the most promising technology. We show that a mechanism that deters this bias towards mainstream research always entails an efficiency loss if researchers are risk-averse. Our results suggest that there is too little diversity in delegated research.
We show that strategic delay can pose a problem in delegated R&D projects. In our model, a principal delegates a research project to an agent. Depending on the agent’s effort provision in two time periods, the research project can be completed either early, late or never. Our central assumption is that the agent is able to opportunistically withhold possible early completion from the principal (strategic delay). We derive the conditions under which strategic delay poses a problem. There are two options for the contract’s optimal adjustment that both fall short of the first-best solution. (1) The contract prevents strategic delay by separating between successful and unsuccessful agents after period 1, but thereby distorts the agent’s working incentives in both periods. (2) The principal strategically delays the start of the research project until the second period. We discuss several model extensions and possible institutional remedies to mitigate the problem.
What are the conditions under which fraudulent or erroneous research arises and survives in the scientific community? To answer this question, we build on the work of Lacetera and Zirulia (2011) and model the scientific approval process along the lines of an inspection game. A researcher publishes a possibly fraudulent or faulty result which comes under scrutiny from a (large) scientific readership. Scrutinizing scientific publications may constitute a public good for the scientific community,such that the volume of (unrevealed) faulty research can increase with the number of interested readers. In fact, an author might intentionally increase the level of fraud so as to attract more readers, thereby aggravating the free rider problem and reducing the likelihood of getting caught. Moreover, the model sheds light on the question of whether and when a greater diversity of opinions in the scientific community helps to weed out flawed research.|
|Physical Description:||149 Pages|