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How did the 2013 government shutdown influence scientific research in the Antarctic?

Raised of $4,950 Goal
Funded on 11/16/23
Successfully Funded
  • $5,005
  • 101%
  • Funded
    on 11/16/23

About This Project

How does a sudden loss of funding affect scientific research? In this project, we use data on a 16-day long U.S. Federal Government shutdown in 2013, where scientific research was disrupted. In particular, we focus on federally funded research in the Antarctic. Early (but incomplete) results show this sudden shock has long-run effects.

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What is the context of this research?

In 2013, the United States federal government experienced a shutdown due to political deadlock over the federal budget. The shutdown lasted only 16 days but had a substantial impact on employees. The timing of the shutdown coincided with the beginning of research period in the Antarctica, and for many researchers an entire research season was lost. The Antarctica provides a very clean setting to study this topic because a lot of research is being conducted there and by different types of scientists (Physics, Biology, Chemistry etc.).

Given the government funds a lot of scientific research, it's incredibly interesting to understand how temporary disruptions to scientific funding affect the productivity of scientists.

What is the significance of this project?

First, the project uses a sudden funding shock to see how it potentially affects researchers. This gives a very rich setting to see how funding losses affect scientists in the U.S.

Second, the project provides evidence on how government shutdowns (which have occurred multiple times) affects scientists. To this end, the project sheds light a disrupter of science.

Third, we can look at how temporary disruptions to science may have long-term effects on researchers careers.

What are the goals of the project?

We have already secured IRB approval, conducted surveys on scientists to see how they were impacted by the shutdown, and got preliminary results. The surveys and preliminary results show that researchers were effected.

The next goal of the project is to expand the dataset we have by collecting their publications and citations using OpenAlex, a commonly used open source database.

After the data is complete, we will conduct a statistical analysis to show how researchers may have been impacted.

The final goal is to write the project up and disseminate the results.


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This funding will support a researcher stipend that estimates 250 hours of work including conducting interviews, empirical analysis, and writing of the paper.

The remainder of the budget will be used to get feedback on the project to improve it and disseminate the findings.

Endorsed by

This is a policy-relevant question that has been understudied in a quasi-natural experimental setup. Our prior is that small shocks to science could lead to rather long-lasting effects for both scientific careers and scientific progress, but quantifying this causally is a challenge. Kris and Christian are in a great position to bring us one step closer to answering this question.

Project Timeline

The first goal would be to complete the collection of the data (this is partially complete).

The second goal would be to complete the statistical analysis of the project.

The third and final goal would be to write the project up into an academic paper and disseminate the projects findings.

Aug 07, 2023

Complete data collection

Aug 31, 2023

Complete statistical analysis

Sep 30, 2023

Release a working paper and disseminate the findings

Oct 02, 2023

Project Launched

Meet the Team

Kris Gulati
Kris Gulati

Kris Gulati

I'm interested in the economics of science and innovation. I received an MSc in Econometrics and Economics from The University of Nottingham with Distinction.

Lab Notes

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Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 101%Funded
  • $5,005Total Donations
  • $2,502.50Average Donation
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