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Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?

Resource Type
  • Bloom, Nicholas (Stanford University)
  • Jones, Charles I. (Stanford University)
  • Van Reenen, John (MIT)
  • Webb, Michael (Stanford University)
Publication Date
  • 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.
  • Is supplement to
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20180338 (Text)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/E111743V2
  • Bloom, Nicholas, Charles I. Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb. “Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?” American Economic Review 110, no. 4 (April 2020): 1104–44.
    • ID: 10.1257/aer.20180338 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2020-05-18 | Issue Number: 4 | Registration Date: 2019-09-09

Bloom, Nicholas; Jones, Charles I.; Van Reenen, John; Webb, Michael (2019): Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.