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Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity

Maria Rosaria Carillo (Università degli Studi di Napoli, Parthenope, Istituto Studi Economici, Napoli, Italy)
Erasmo Papagni (Seconda Università di Napoli, Capua, Italy)
Fabian Capitanio (Università di Napoli Federico II, Dipartimento di Economia Agraria, Portici, Italy and University of York, York, UK)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 13 June 2008



Recent economic research has focused on the economic effects of the social environment. In the economic literature, important phenomena are considered, at least in part, as results of the individual's social environment. There is a similar revival of interest among economists who analyse the world of science and basic research. In this case as well, the environment plays a key role in the agent's behaviour. This paper aims at an empirical analysis of the influence of social interactions on scientists' productivity.


In the econometric analysis the authors investigate the aggregate importance of social interactions in science through the analysis of data on publications in four scientific fields of seven advanced countries. The paper builds a dynamic autoregressive model which provides long‐run multipliers. The model is estimated with a panel fixed effects methodology.


Social interactions among researchers have positive effects on a scientist's productivity, and there is a U‐shaped relation between the size of a scientific network and individual productivity. This result is interpreted as providing evidence for threshold externalities and increasing returns to scale.

Research limitations/implications

Other better indicators of social interactions in science should be found and used in estimates. The set of countries and fields should be enlarged.


The paper represents the first econometric investigation of the issue at country level, and provides interesting results which are new for the economic literature.



Rosaria Carillo, M., Papagni, E. and Capitanio, F. (2008), "Effects of social interactions on scientists' productivity", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 263-279.



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