Seminar  |  10.07.2019 | 11:00  –  12:30

Brown Bag-Seminar: The Impact of Government Funding on Science: Evidence from the U.S. Government Shutdown

Christian Helmers (Santa Clara University)

Max-Planck-Institut für Innovation und Wettbewerb, München, Raum 313

I examine the impact of a funding shock caused by the 16-day long U.S. Federal Government shutdown in 2013 on scientific research. The timing of the government shutdown coincided with the beginning of the Arctic summer, which is the crucial albeit short period for researchers to set up their experiments and measurements in the Antarctic. This means that although the shutdown lasted for only slightly more than two weeks, its timing substantially magnified its effect on federally funded research in the Antarctic. I use information on specific research projects in the Antarctic funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that were critically affected by the shutdown: projects were either cancelled in their entirety, their start substantially delayed, often by at least an entire year, or they lost a substantial amount of data because no measurements could be taken during the year following the shutdown. My ability to identify specific projects and the individual scientists affected by the shutdown allows me to identify the causal impact of a large, exogenous funding shock on research outcomes and career trajectories of individual scientists.

Ansprechpartner: Dr. Fabian Gaessler