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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

“How Economics Shapes Science” – This New Book by Paula Stephan is Garnering Stro

Various authors, including Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, are mentioning a January 2012 book on how economics shapes the ways that science is researched and pursued. The publisher is Harvard University Press; the page for the book includes the table of contents and a "search inside" function. And of course it’s available at Amazon. The author is Paula Stephan – she’s a professor at Georgia State and prior author of an 880 page compendium of papers on science and economics

Some of the academic reviews are set out below from the Book’s webpage:

“Paula Stephan is the undisputed authority on the economics of science and her book is a delight. Laced with dozens of revealing anecdotes about everything from transgenic mice to the competition for high h-indexes and the Nobel Prize, How Economics Shapes Science reveals the economic logic behind the workings of modern science and makes a compelling case for using incentives to rationalize our use of scarce resources.”—Charles Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Law, Duke University

“Paula Stephan is one of the world’s leading scholars of the economics of science. Her comprehensive analysis—as readable as it is timely—is a must read for anyone worrying about the future of science policy or the economics of universities.”—Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, Cornell University

“This is a marvelous book—lucid, cogent, and lively, full of fascinating anecdotes and news about what university science costs, who pays for it, and who benefits. Paula Stephan saw science as an economic enterprise long before other economists did, and she’s written what will be the definitive book for years to come.”—Richard Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University

“This fascinating book makes senior scientists like me keenly aware of the travails that await our students and post-docs as they pursue the many years of scientific training that lead to a very uncertain career. As Paula Stephan shows, from the point of view of income and stability, our students might be better off getting MBAs. All senior scientists should read this book. It gives a sobering dose of reality to our love of science.”—Kathleen Giacomini, Professor of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California San Francisco

“How do economic considerations shape what scientists do? How do scientific developments affect economic progress? In a world facing challenges like global warming and threats of economic stagnation, these are critical questions. Paula Stephan’s treatment is masterful—and readable outside the ranks of economists, too.”—Richard R. Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor Emeritus of International and Public Affairs, Business, and Law, Columbia University

“Scientific research and professional training are now inextricably linked. At the same time the perceived costs and benefits of science have skyrocketed, with governments and universities setting economic incentives in the race for productivity and prestige. Stephan’s groundbreaking economic analysis shows the complex results of these policies.”—Mara Prentiss, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University

“We in Europe often invoke the U.S. science system as the frontier for us, but most of us don’t know in detail how it actually operates. With its wealth of facts and stories, and its rich multidisciplinary perspective, Paula Stephan’s book can teach us. It will help scientists understand their environment and help policy makers see what levers they have (or do not have) to direct science. No one other than Paula Stephan could write with such insight and depth.”—Reinhilde Veugelers, Professor of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


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