Petra Moser (NYU Stern), "McCarthy and the Red-ucators: Does Political Persecution Change Science" (with Sahar Parsa)
This paper examines the effects of political persecution during McCarthyism on American science. Between 1949 and 1953 the National Council of American Education (NCAE) published lists of "Red-ucators"—professors and other scientists who were publicly accused of associations with subversive, communist organizations. Event studies of publications and citations show that targeted scholars experienced a large and persistent decline in their research output. After the accusations, targeted scholars were 10% less likely to publish, and they published 25% fewer papers compared with other scholars in the same fields and at similar institutions. Scientists who were accused of multiple subversive affiliations suffered most. Notably, citations to existing work by targeted scholars declined only temporarily during the height of the movement and recovered as McCarthyism lost its force.
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