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Acquiring Knowledge over the Economist’s Lifetime

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  • Hendrik P. van Dalen

    ()
    (Erasmus University Rotterdam and NIDI, The Hague)

Abstract

In this paper the reading behaviour of economists is examined to see whether particular typesof knowledge - basic and applied - imply different investment patterns. As it turns out, thereading intensity of advanced theoretical and empirical literature declines with three to fourpercent per year of experience, although researchers and economists with a mathematicalbackground start with a higher initial stock of knowledge of this type of literature. Businessand government economists concentrate on applied literature and news magazines; a type ofliterature which is not frequently read by mathematical economists. However, themathematical economists catch up with their non-mathematical colleagues in 12 to 15 yearstime. Furthermore, the introduction of graduate schools in Dutch academia has not broughtabout a fundamental change in reading habits. The biggest factor in explaining the divergencein reading behaviour among economists remains the mathematical, c.q. econometricsbackground in undergraduate training.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 97-124/1.

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Date of creation: 09 Dec 1997
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:19970124

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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  1. Colander, David, 2003. "The Aging of an Economist," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 157-176, June.
  2. Lovell, Michael C, 1973. "The Production of Economic Literature: An Interpretation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 27-55, March.
  3. Stigler, George J & Stigler, Stephen M & Friedland, Claire, 1995. "The Journals of Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 331-59, April.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Reiner Eichenberger, 1993. "American and European Economics and Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 185-193, Fall.
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