Transaction costs in science?

According to Coasian economic theory, “transaction costs” are supposed to determine whether people will work as individuals or collectively as firms. But does this insight apply to science research? Via Nature: “Between 2009 and 2013, 573 manuscripts listing 1,000 co-authors or more were published, according to a report released on 4 December by the Institute for Scientific Information …. But that figure has risen to 1,315 papers over the past 5 years.” (Hat tip: Marginal Revolution.)

Update (11:45am): Upon further reflection, to the extent scientific papers with hundreds or even thousands of co-authors are led by science labs such as CERN, maybe those types of projects can be compared to Coasian or centralized “firms.”

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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