DP11252 Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science?
|Author(s):||Christian Catalini, Christian Fons-Rosen, Patrick Gaule|
|Publication Date:||April 2016|
|Programme Areas:||Industrial Organization, International Trade and Regional Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11252|
We test how a reduction in travel cost affects the rate and direction of scientific research. Using a fine-grained, scientist-level dataset within chemistry (1991-2012), we find that after Southwest Airlines enters a new route, scientific collaboration increases by 50%, an effect that is magnified when weighting output by quality. The benefits from the lower fares, however, are not uniform across scientist types: younger scientists and scientists that are more productive than their local peers respond the most. Thus, cheaper flights, by reducing frictions otherwise induced by geography and allowing for additional face-to-face interactions, seem to enable better matches over distance.