Globalization and the Rate of Technological Progress: What Track and Field Records Show
The past century and a quarter has seen frequent improvements in track and field records. We attempt to estimate what proportion of the speed of record breaking is due to globalization (competitors from more countries) and what proportion is due to technological progress (better equipment and training techniques). It appears that technological change is the chief driving force but that technological progress is improving the performance of seasoned elite athletes faster than it is improving the performance of adolescents. Both our results and our methods may have wider application.
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