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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2013/43:
Are there Scale Economies in Scientific Production? On the Topic of Locally Increasing Returns to Scale

Torben Schubert ()

Abstract: In this paper the question of returns to scale in scientific production is analyzed using nonparametric techniques for multidimensional efficiency measurement. Based on survey data for German research groups from three scientific fields it is shown that the multidimensional production possibility sets are weakly non-convex and locally strictly non-convex. This implies that the production functions for the groups in the sample are characterised by increasing returns in some regions and at least constant returns to scale otherwise. This has two implications for organization of scientific research: first, at least some groups in our sample have suboptimal size and could benefit from growing. Second, specialisation on certain tasks in science (e.g. transfer-oriented groups vs. research-oriented groups) would increase output of the overall system.

Keywords: Research Units; Specialisation; Production; Efficiency; Returns to scale; DEA; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C14; O30; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, December 20, 2013

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