Author(s)Azoulay, Pierre; Wang, Jialan; Graff Zivin, Joshua S.
MetadataShow full item record
We estimate the magnitude of spillovers generated by 112 academic “superstars” who died prematurely and unexpectedly, thus providing an exogenous source of variation in the structure of their collaborators’ coauthorship networks. Following the death of a superstar, we find that collaborators experience, on average, a lasting 5% to 8% decline in their quality-adjusted publication rates. By exploring interactions of the treatment effect with a variety of star, coauthor, and star/coauthor dyad characteristics, we seek to adjudicate between plausible mechanisms that might explain this finding. Taken together, our results suggest that spillovers are circumscribed in idea space, but less so in physical or social space. In particular, superstar extinction reveals the boundaries of the scientific field to which the star contributes—the “invisible college.”
DepartmentSloan School of Management
Quarterly Journal of Economics
Azoulay, Pierre, Joshua S. Graff Zivin, and Jialan Wang. “Superstar Extinction.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 125.2 (2010): 549-589. © 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Final published version