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Political Regimes, Bureaucracy, and Scientific Productivity

By Juan Remo Fernández-Carro and Víctor Lapuente Giné


Can a scientist trust that the government is going to pay him or her fairly? In the science–government relationship, an incumbent may be better off if he or she does not provide—or does not provide a fair pay to public scientists. We propose a simple game-theoretic model for understanding the trust problem in the relationship between governments and scientists. The model shows how with reliable governments (democracies), bureaucratic contracts (e.g., secure tenure) are not optimal since they have low-powered incentives (in contrast to the highpowered private-sector type of contracts) and run against scientists’ responsiveness to government demands. However, with nonreliable governments (dictatorships), bureaucratic contracts are second-best solutions because they protect scientists against the possibility of governments’ misbehavior (i.e., ex post opportunistic defections, such as canceling research programs overnight). An empirical analysis confirms the predictions: bureaucratic contracts enhance scientific productivity with nonreliable governments (dictatorships) but hamper scientific productivity with reliable governments (democracies).Publicad

Topics: Sociología
Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2008.00148.x
OAI identifier:

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