Communism and the Incentive to Share in Science

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Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 84, Issue: 4, Page: 698-716

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Remco Heesen
University of Chicago Press, The University of Chicago Press
Arts and Humanities
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The communist norm requires that scientists widely share the results of their work. Where did this norm come from, and how does it persist? I argue on the basis of a game-theoretic model that rational credit-maximizing scientists will in many cases conform to the norm. This means that the origins and persistence of the communist norm can be explained even in the absence of a social contract or enforcement, contrary to recent work by Michael Strevens but adding to previous work emphasizing the benefits of the incentive structure created by the priority rule.

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