Economics ETDs

Publication Date



Following the Cold War, Russian and US research institutions forged new collaborative ties to take advantage of perceived complementarities in conducting scientific research as part of US nonproliferation initiatives. These ties appear to have been successful in the broader nonproliferation context as relatively few Russian nuclear scientists emigrated to perceived rogue states like Iran and North Korea in the years that immediately followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Early on, the research benefits of these ties appeared to be significant. Today, as the Russian science and technology cadre is going through a demographic transition and the Russian state is following a corporatist policy in rebuilding its scientific research and development base, the appropriable benefits associated with continuing these policies for US research partners are less obvious. This assessment is an attempt to gain an empirical understanding of the appropriable benefits from US-Russian research engagement apart from the nonproliferation context. As such, this study examines these collaborations using an alternative network analysis methodology with reference to a knowledge-based model of research and development generation. To assure tractability, the analysis focuses its attention on a subset of institutions that have been broadly ignored in studies of research collaboration — US national laboratories and their Russian counterparts. The resulting analysis challenges the conventional wisdom of the appropriable virtues of scientific collaboration. For the limited set of relationships examined in this study, this analysis suggests participation in international collaborations between the largest US national laboratories and their Russian counterparts can actually reduce individual researchers basic research productivity — clearly not a policy goal for a major national research and development establishment. To achieve better appropriability, this finding and its contextual factors are used to demarcate areas of inquiry where Russian-US engagement has an empirical track record of utility and should continue from areas where collaboration has had little success.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Santos, Richard

Second Committee Member

Thacher, Jennifer

Third Committee Member

Akhadov, Elshan




public economics, national laboratories, international collaborations, institutional competencies

Document Type