In many growth models, economic growth arises from people creating ideas, and the long-run growth rate is the product of two terms: the effective number of researchers and their research productivity. This talk presents a wide range of evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply. Across a broad range of case studies at various levels of (dis)aggregation, Charles Jones will discuss how ideas—and in particular the exponential growth they imply—are getting harder and harder to find. Exponential growth results from the large increases in research effort that offset its declining productivity.
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