On the Matthew effect in research careers

Gustav Feichtinger, Dieter Grass*, Peter M. Kort, Andrea Seidl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The observation that a socioeconomic agent with a high reputation gets a disproportionately higher recognition for the same work than an agent with lower reputation is typical in career development and wealth. This phenomenon, which is known as Matthew effect in the literature, leads to an increasing inequality over time. The present paper employs an optimal control model to study the implications of the Matthew effect on the optimal efforts of a scientist into reputation.

We essentially obtain two different solutions. In case the scientist is not so talented, his or her academic career is doomed to fail. The scientist's reputation decreases over time and after some time the scientific career stops. For a more gifted scientist the optimal solution is history-dependent. Still for a low level of the initial reputation, scientific life stops at some point, but otherwise a fruitful scientific career is awaiting. 

Original languageEnglish
Article number104058
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Economic Dynamics & Control
Volume123
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Optimal control
  • History-dependent solution
  • Abnormal solution
  • Career planning
  • Matthew effect
  • OPTIMAL ADVERTISING POLICY
  • CUMULATIVE ADVANTAGE
  • OPTIMAL-GROWTH
  • SKIBA POINTS
  • LIFE-CYCLE
  • BIFURCATIONS
  • INEQUALITY
  • ECONOMICS
  • MECHANISM
  • PATHS

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