All of krisgulati's Comments + Replies

Recommendations for things to read on well-run scientific labs?

Just the person I was looking for -- thanks Eric! I'll try and get through these before we meet.

Is Innovation in Human Nature?

Fascinating reframing! I hadn't thought about it like that at all... 

6Anton Howes2yI'm glad Hannes should notice this deeper implication, as it is certainly one thing I had intended when I originally wrote this piece! When I give seminars to economists, convincing them that innovation might be outside of one's choice-set is one of the first and most difficult things I try to do.
How curing aging could help progress

Yes, incredibly interesting.

Also, good seeing you here - I'm a big fan of your work!

How curing aging could help progress

This is fun to think about. Two thoughts popped up:

1. I wonder if it also changes researchers' appetite for risk knowing they may have time to recover in the future if their riskier projects fail.

2. Perhaps there's also a mechanism forcing science to be more robust/credible. If my career is now 100 years long rather than 30 years, there may be a longer-term penalty for engaging in shoddy science. (This probably sits under your long-term thinking bracket).

2Hannes Malmberg2yI think both points are very important. I also think they reduce the old guard risk. , Consider an example where a researcher is powerful in a paradigm that either is wrong or stagnant. Currently, cognitive decline and a short horizon make it unattractive admit failure and start from scratch. Instead, you fight a rearguard action until retirement. With longevity and 100 years to go, you would realize that defending the old paradigm is a losing battle, and you also have lots of time and cognitive ability to get back in learning mode and come back stronger.
Is Innovation in Human Nature?

I have always liked this post a lot. Similarly, I have always liked Matt Clancy's post on this who takes a slightly different approach but I think complements it well

Effective Altruism and Progress Studies

Haven't thought about this thoroughly but number of EAF/PSF users/views springs to mind as a crude proxy.

1jasoncrawford2yHmm, they have a big head start though. Comparing absolute numbers would be unfair to us; comparing growth rates would be unfair to them!
Bombs, Brains, and Science

I think it's a great question. Two papers come to mind about capture that are somewhat related. These are not directly related but get at the capture part of research to some extent:

  1. This paper by Carrell/Figlio/Lusher captures the clubbyness in economics.
  2. I'm really fond of this paper by Rubin and Rubin because the empirical strategy is smart.

"Like maybe you're only allowed to be the chair of x society or editor of y journal for a fixed time period and then you're forced to step down. Maybe something like that could be a codifiable measure of some level of ... (read more)

1ericgilliam2yThanks! I'll read them this weekend! Have a good weekend!
Bombs, Brains, and Science

Yeah, that's certainly true, the deaths have interesting dynamics. My advisor (Christian Fons-Rosen) is a co-author on that paper with Pierre and Josh. I'm definitely interested in exploring the area more.

1ericgilliam2yIf one wanted to start flirting with how to disentangle the lost collaborator effect from the lost capture effect, do you think there are any decent ways to do that? I imagine whatever it is will be imperfect. But maybe there's some pseudo-randomness to certain positions of status/power coming to an end that are independent from one's research capacity. Like maybe you're only allowed to be the chair of x society or editor of y journal for a fixed time period and then you're forced to step down. Maybe something like that could be a codifiable measure of some level of capture of a field. Maybe?
Effective Altruism and Progress Studies

I still expect EA to be more influential in 2030. I'd be interested in making a bet on this.

1jasoncrawford2yHow would you define the terms of the bet?
Bombs, Brains, and Science

"If the scientists had randomly died of disease or something, instead of being deliberately kicked out, would the effect have been similar?" 

This paper by Pierre, Josh,  and Wang does exactly that. They look at the sudden death of 'superstar academics' and find a noticeable decline in their collaborators productivity.

2ericgilliam2yWhen I was considering that line of reasoning that you just made, I wasn't sure how seriously to take the change because it was unclear to me if that was a negative spillover that affected their capacity to do or work just that the field moved on in the absence of a superstar. Because in Pierre's (god I love him, he's a godsend) Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time? [] there seems to be an interesting dynamic. Upon an untimely death, collaborators' pubs went down and newcomers' pubs went up. In that case, an alternative model of the situation could be "the old famous group of researchers had a certain capture/influence over publishing in the area that was broken by the untimely death of one of them." In essence, I wasn't sure what to think because, as you pointed out, their direct collaborators were hurt. But it seems like the fields where a superstar dies also get an injection of new ideas. So I withheld judgment on what I thought might be happening because it felt up in the air. But I'm open to hearing more evidence! I like being swayed. It's fun.
Bombs, Brains, and Science

Nice post. Yes, Fabian's paper is brilliant. IIRC, in a separate paper, he uses the same shock to study peer effects and finds no impact, which seems completely robust but simultaneously bizarre.

I'm supposed to be studying for my final qualifying exams but talk of physical capital is too enticing... 
A couple of related papers you may find interesting:

  1. Baruffaldi and Gaesller have a brilliant working paper looking at the more recent impacts of physical capital destruction. Like Fabian, they also have a great source of exogeneity -- the accidental destru
... (read more)
2ericgilliam2yThis first paper, by B&G, is such a fascinating piece of data collection work. You're absolutely right. Do you have any rough guesses on how much of the issue is building a course of research on niche capital itself vs. the kind of person who does that kind of thing. I'm sure they both have an effect. I ask because I would be not shocked if the hypothesis, "People usually only pursue a course of research that requires specialized equipment if they are extremely dedicated to that problem over all others/that is an area of clear comparative advantage to them and they don't believe they can contribute as much to other areas." That might be mere conjecture though and I'm not one to lend too much credibility to personal hunches without evidence. Do you think there's any work that can help us think through that question? Even if tangentially. As much as it can feel like it sometimes, a paper does not exist for everything.