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. he 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.
We are grateful for support from the Sloan Foundation and the 21st Century China Center for financial support. A special thanks to Josh Graff Zivin, Lei Guang, Susan Shirk, Barry Naughton, Steven Liao, and Victor Shih for their thoughts and discussions throughout writing this paper. Thanks to Xiaohan Wu and Young Yang for their technical support and feedback and Guanwei Hu and Zoey Xu for excellent research assistance. We thank conference and seminar participants at APSA 2021, UCSD, and University of Washington for their helpful comments and the scientists in our interviews for sharing their thoughts. Professor Roberts guest lectures for Schwarzman Scholars Program in Beijing.