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Creative Careers: The Life Cycles of Nobel Laureates in Economics

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  • Bruce A. Weinberg
  • David W. Galenson

Abstract

This paper studies life cycle creativity among Nobel laureate economists. We identify two distinct life cycles of scholarly creativity. Experimental innovators work inductively, accumulating knowledge from experience. Conceptual innovators work deductively, applying abstract principles. We find that conceptual innovators do their most important work earlier in their careers than experimental laureates. For instance, our estimates imply that the probability that the most conceptual laureate publishes his single best work peaks at age 25 compared to the mid-50s for the most experimental laureate. Thus while experience benefits experimental innovators, newness to a field benefits conceptual innovators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11799.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11799

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  1. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  2. David W. Galenson, 2004. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young or Old Innovator: Measuring the Careers of Modern Novelists," NBER Working Papers 10213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. The Economics of Nobel Laureates
    by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2012-10-18 22:10:00
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2012. "Six Decades of Top Economics Publishing: Who and How?," NBER Working Papers 18635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rosalind S Hunter, 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," Working Papers id:2048, eSocialSciences.
  3. Ilan Noy & Joshua Aizenman, 2007. "Prizes for Basic Research -- Human Capital, Economic Might and the Shadow of History," Working Papers 200705, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  4. KRAPF, Matthias & SCHLÄPFER, Jörg, 2012. "How Nobel Laureates Would Perform In The Handelsblatt Ranking," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 12(3).
  5. RosalindS. Hunter & Andrew J. Oswald & Bruce G. Charlton, 2009. "The Elite Brain Drain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages F231-F251, 06.
  6. Baffes, John & Vamvakidis, Athanasios, 2011. "Are you too young for the Nobel Prize?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1345-1353.
  7. Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2007. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001752, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. David W. Galenson, 2004. "One Hit Wonders: Why Some of the Most Important Works of Modern Art are Not by Important Artists," NBER Working Papers 10885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life Cycle and Implications for Regulation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 51-117.
  10. Laibson, David I. & Agarwal, Sumit & Driscoll, John C. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life-Cycle with Implications for Regulation," Scholarly Articles 4554335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Rablen, Matthew D. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Mortality and Immortality," IZA Discussion Papers 2560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Rablen, Matthew D. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Mortality and immortality: The Nobel Prize as an experiment into the effect of status upon longevity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1462-1471, December.
  13. Barthel, Jens, 2008. "Can age discrimination be justified with a lower productivity of older workers?," MPRA Paper 14682, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Macro-Foundations of Microeconomics: Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," NBER Working Papers 12157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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