Discussion paper

DP17218 The Impact of U.S.-China Tensions on U.S. Science

This paper studies how recent investigations of foreign influence in research have affected the productivity of U.S. scientists in the field of life sciences. Using data from PubMed and Dimensions during 2010–2020, we compare scientists who collaborated with scientists in China during 2010–2014 with those who collaborated with scientists in other countries outside the U.S. By studying the publication records for over 102,000 scientists during 2015–2020, we find that the investigations coincide with a decline in the productivity of scientists with previous collaborations with scientists in China, especially when the quality of publications is considered. The decline is particularly salient for the fields with more pre-investigation NIH funding and U.S.-China collaborations. We also provide suggestive evidence that our findings matter for the aggregate productivity by fields for both the U.S. and China.


Jia, R, M Roberts, Y Wang and E Yang (2022), ‘DP17218 The Impact of U.S.-China Tensions on U.S. Science‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17218. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17218