Theses Doctoral

Essays in Economics of Science

Liu, Shaoyu

This dissertation consists of three essays in applied microeconomics on the economics of science. The first chapter contribute to the understanding of fairness and recognition in innovation systems. The second and third chapters study the effect of government policies and university relocation on science and education outcomes respectively.

The first paper, coauthored with Zihao Li, studies gender difference in innovation recognition using patent citations. We propose a method to quantify under-citation, by constructing a “should-cite” list for each of over 1.5 million patents based on textual similarity, using state-of-the-art natural language processing technique. We find that female-authored patents are approximately 12% more likely to be under-cited than male-authored patents. Additionally, male inventors are far more likely to under-cite patents written by female inventors. Our findings are consistent with the testable implications of taste-based discrimination but not statistical discrimination. Welfare analysis shows that past under-citations negatively impact future patenting activities, especially for female inventors.

The second paper, coauthored with Elliott Ash, Mirko Draca and David Cai studies the impact of a large-scale scientist recruitment program – China’s Junior Thousand Talents Plan – on the productivity of recruited scholars and their local peers in Chinese host universities. Using a comprehensive dataset of published scientific articles, we estimate effects on quantity and quality in a matched difference-in-differences framework. We observe neutral direct productivity effects for participants over a 6-year post-period: an initial drop is followed by a fully offsetting recovery. However, the program participants collaborate at higher rates with more junior China-based co-authors at their host institutions. Looking to peers in the hosting department, we observe positive and rising productivity impacts for peer scholars, equivalent to approximately 0.6 of a publication per peer scholar in the long run. Heterogeneity analysis and the absence of correlated resource effects point to the peer effect being rooted in a knowledge spillover mechanism.

The third paper studies the long run effect on local education outcomes of the temporary exodus of Chinese universities in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). During the war, over 80% of China’s universities, along with the top tiers of China’s educated talents were forced to relocate to inland underdeveloped areas during the war. We find that the large inflow of educated elite intellectuals and universities increased local supply of secondary schools by 6.6% during and after the war period, indicating the effect cascades to lower tiers of education. However, such trend does not persist into the People’s Republic of China (PRC) era and we find limited effect on local education outcomes in the long run. We discuss the salience of locational fundamentals and education policies in explaining the absence of persistence.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Urquiola, Miguel S.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 24, 2024