IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Do only new brooms sweep clean? A review on workforce age and innovation

  • Katharina Frosch

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

The relationship between age and creative performance has been found to follow a hump-shaped profile in the arts and sciences, and in great technological achievement. Accordingly, accelerating workforce aging raises concern about whether future capacity to innovate is endangered. This paper provides a review of existing studies exploring age effects on innovative performance, both at the individual and the macro levels. Empirical evidence confirms the hump-shaped relationship between workers’ ages and innovative performance, with the highest levels of performance seen between ages 30 and 50, depending on the domain. Industrial invention in knowledge-intensive fields, and great invention in general, seem to be a young man’s game. Yet in more experience-based fields, innovative performance peaks later, and remains stable until late in the career. Moreover, the quality of invention remains rather stable at older ages. However, individual-level evidence has to be interpreted with caution due to the presence of selectivity biases and unobserved heterogeneity. Studies at the levels of firms, regions, and countries address some of these issues. Results of these studies have indicated that young professionals drive knowledge absorption, innovation, and technological progress, whereas more experienced workers are more relevant in mature technological regimes. Apart from integrating the existing empirical evidence on different levels of aggregation, a strong focus is on methodological issues and conceptual challenges. This review therefore provides a sound basis for further studies on the impact of workforce aging on innovative performance. In addition, promising directions for future research are proposed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2009-005.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2009-005.

as
in new window

Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-005
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Tracing mobile inventors--The causality between inventor mobility and inventor productivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 619-636, June.
  2. Benoit Dostie, 2011. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 139-158, June.
  3. Schettino, Francesco & Sterlacchini, Alessandro & Venturini, Francesco, 2013. "Inventive productivity and patent quality: Evidence from Italian inventors," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1043-1056.
  4. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
  5. repec:zbw:iwhdps:2-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Institutionalized incentives for ingenuity--Patent value and the German Employees' Inventions Act," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1143-1162, October.
  7. Mariani, Myriam & Romanelli, Marzia, 2007. ""Stacking" and "picking" inventions: The patenting behavior of European inventors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1128-1142, October.
  8. Werner Bönte & Oliver Falck & Stephan Heblich, 2007. "Demography and Innovative Entrepreneurship," CESifo Working Paper Series 2115, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Paola Giuri & Myriam Mariani, 2007. "Inventors and the Geographical Breadth of Knowledge Spillovers," LEM Papers Series 2007/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta & Jari Vainiomaki, 2000. "The Roles of Employer and Employee Characteristics for Plant Productivity," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1349, Econometric Society.
  11. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alexia Prskawetz & Bernhard Mahlberg & Vegard Skirbekk, 2007. "Firm Productivity, Work-force Age and Educational Structure in Austrian Industries in 2001," Chapters, in: Population Aging, Intergenerational Transfers and the Macroeconomy, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  13. Benjamin F. Jones, 2005. "The burden of knowledge and the ‘death of the Renaissance man’: Is innovation getting harder?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Wolfgang Lutz & Anne Goujon & Samir K.C. & Warren Sanderson, 2007. "Reconstruction of population by age, sex and level of educational attainment of 120 countries for 1970-2000," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 5(1), pages 193-235.
  15. Patrick Aubert & Bruno Crépon, 2003. "La productivité des salariés âgés : une tentative d'estimation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 368(1), pages 95-119.
  16. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  17. Patrick Aubert & Eve Caroli & Muriel Roger, 2006. "New technologies, organisation and age: firm level evidence," Post-Print halshs-00754173, HAL.
  18. Giuri, Paola & Mariani, Myriam & Brusoni, Stefano & Crespi, Gustavo & Francoz, Dominique & Gambardella, Alfonso & Garcia-Fontes, Walter & Geuna, Aldo & Gonzales, Raul & Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Inventors and invention processes in Europe: Results from the PatVal-EU survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1107-1127, October.
  19. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  21. repec:zbw:iwhdps:13-06 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Meyer, Jenny, 2008. "Older Workers and the Adoption of New Technologies," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-050 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  23. Benjamin F. Jones, 2005. "Age and Great Invention," NBER Working Papers 11359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Charles I. Jones, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 220-239, March.
  25. Bruno Crépon & Nicolas Deniau & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, 2003. "Wages, Productivity and Worker Characteristics : A French Perspective," Working Papers 2003-04, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  26. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Experience and Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 1051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Henseke, Golo & Tivig, Thusnelda, 2007. "Demographic change and industry-specific innovation patterns in Germany," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 72, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  28. Irene Bertschek & Jenny Meyer, 2008. "Do Older Workers Lower IT-Enabled Productivity? Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," DRUID Working Papers 08-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  29. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1996. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," NBER Working Papers 5626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
  31. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2007. "Aging, Labor Turnover and Firm Performance," Discussion Papers 1092, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  33. Francesco Daveri & Mika Maliranta, 2007. "Age, seniority and labour costs: lessons from the Finnish IT revolution," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 117-175, 01.
  34. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10051 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Brunow, Stephan & Hirte, Georg, 2005. "Age Structure and Regional Income Growth," Discussion Papers 1/2005, Technische Universität Dresden, "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Institute of Transport and Economics.
  36. James Feyrer, 2007. "Demographics and Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 100-109, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.