Life in Academia

Zero Sum Games vs Real World Benefit: We’re Losing Scientists, Why Aren’t People More Worried?

Inspired by this tweet, which I started to answer and then realized my thoughts were longer and more complicated than could fit in a couple of tweets of my own.

My anecdotal observations have been the same as Seth’s. More and more high performing researchers in the public sector on leaving. Some for jobs in industry. Some for completely different positions. Some people are leaving tenured positions with no plan about what they want to do next. I could write about my ideas about why this is happening for a lot of paragraphs. But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Instead I want to think out loud about the question: Why aren’t decision makers worried about this trend? I think a big part of the explanation is that a lot of public sector researchers and administrators are motivated by zero sum incentives.