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SSN 1995-459X print
E-ISSN 2312-9972 online
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Leonid Gokhberg


Natalia Shmatko1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Scientific Capital as a Driver of Researchers’ Social Mobility

2011. Vol. 5. No. 3. P. 18–32 [issue contents]

Natalya Shmatko — Head, Division for Studies of Human Capital, HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge. E-mail: nshmatko@hse.ru  Address: 20, Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, Russia, 101000

Changes in the structure and priorities of research funding and of educational activities accompany changes in the labour market for scientists, including newly induced mobility both on a national and an international level. The paper aims to operationalize the concept of social mobility, separating it from directly observable relocations. Second, it builds a structural model explaining the results of measured mobility.

The analysis of Russian scientists’ social shifts provided in the paper is based on the data collected in the course of the “Monitoring careers of doctorate holders” project undertaken in the framework of the NRU-HSE basic research program in 2010. This study is a part of the Careers of Doctorate Holders international project. The project uses a multi-step stratified sample with respondent quotas based on degree, gender, age, research field, and geographical area.

The paper identifies major social trends in scientists’ professional shifts (inter-sectoral, institutional, and international); their secondary employment; and their specialization shifts. It proposes a conceptual model of scientists’ social mobility–mobility being the final probability of transfers between various states of the mobility process–which is reconstructed on the basis of data describing relocations of doctorate holders. Given that it is empirically established that within the analysed sample, mobility conforms to Pareto’s Law, assuming retention of the probability flow, the paper presents a mathematical model of scientists’ mobility consistent with Pareto distribution. To explain mobility from the sociological point of view, the paper builds a scientific capital model, describing emerging social characteristics of doctorate holders. It establishes that the distribution of the scientific capital in the sample matches gamma distribution; it finds a power dependence between the scientists’ mobility and their scientific capital.

These results provide a holistic picture of Russian scientists’ mobility, allowing a connection to be drawn between mobility and various social trends in the scientific community. The proposed model opens up an opportunity for a more integrated assessment of the mobility of doctorate holders.


Citation: Shmatko N. (2011) Nauchnyy kapital kak drayver sotsial'noy mobil'nosti uchenykh [Scientific Capital as a Driver of Researchers’ Social Mobility]. Foresight-Russia, vol. 5, no 3, pp. 18-32 (in Russian)
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