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Are ideas getting harder to find?

Bloom, Nicholas, Jones, Charles I, Van Reenen, John and Webb, Michael (2020) Are ideas getting harder to find? American Economic Review, 110 (4). 1104 - 1144. ISSN 0002-8282

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Identification Number: 10.1257/aer.20180338

Abstract

Long-run growth in many models is the product of two terms: the effective number of researchers and their research productivity. We present evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply. A good example is Moore's Law. The number of researchers required today to achieve the famous doubling of computer chip density is more than 18 times larger than the number required in the early 1970s. More generally, everywhere we look we find that ideas, and the exponential growth they imply, are getting harder to find.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/journals/aer
Additional Information: © 2020 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D2 - Production and Organizations > D24 - Production; Cost; Capital and Total Factor Productivity; Capacity
E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E2 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment > E23 - Production
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O4 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity > O47 - Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output (Income) Convergence
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 16:06
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 23:27
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/104481

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