Journal Article

Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany

Fabian Waldinger

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 79, issue 2, pages 838-861
Published in print April 2012 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdr029
Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany

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  • Demand and Supply of Labour
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This paper analyses peer effects among university scientists. Specifically, it investigates whether the quality and the number of peers affect the productivity of researchers in physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The usual endogeneity problems related to estimating peer effects are addressed by using the dismissal of scientists by the Nazi government in 1933 as a source of exogenous variation in the peer group of scientists staying in Germany. To investigate localized peer effects, I construct a new panel data set covering the universe of scientists at the German universities from 1925 to 1938 from historical sources. I find no evidence for peer effects at the local level. Even very high-quality scientists do not affect the productivity of their local peers.

Keywords: Peer effects; Academics; Nazi Germany; Jewish scientists; Scientific productivity; I20; I23; I28; J15; J24; N34; N44

Journal Article.  10511 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Demand and Supply of Labour ; Demographic Economics ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Economic History ; Education and Research Institutions

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