Corpus ID: 5940278

Why Scientists Chase Big Problems: Individual Strategy and Social Optimality

  title={Why Scientists Chase Big Problems: Individual Strategy and Social Optimality},
  author={Carl T. Bergstrom and J. Foster and Yangbo Song},
  journal={arXiv: Physics and Society},
  • Carl T. Bergstrom, J. Foster, Yangbo Song
  • Published 2016
  • Physics, Mathematics
  • arXiv: Physics and Society
  • Scientists pursue collective knowledge, but they also seek personal recognition from their peers. When scientists decide whether or not to work on a big new problem, they weigh the potential rewards of a major discovery against the costs of setting aside other projects. These self-interested choices can potentially spread researchers across problems in an efficient manner, but efficiency is not guaranteed. We use simple economic models to understand such decisions and their collective… CONTINUE READING
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