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Young, Restless and Creative: Openness to Disruption and Creative Innovations

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Ufuk Akcigit
  • Murat Alp Celik

Abstract

This paper argues that openness to new, unconventional and disruptive ideas has a first-order impact on creative innovations—innovations that break new ground in terms of knowledge creation. After presenting a motivating model focusing on the choice between incremental and radical innovation, and on how managers of different ages and human capital are sorted across different firms with different degrees of openness to disruption, we provide firm-level, patent level and cross-country evidence consistent with this pattern. Our measures of creative innovations proxy for innovation quality (average number of citations per patent) and creativity (fraction of superstar innovators, the likelihood of a very high number of citations, and generality of patents). Our main proxy for openness to disruption is the age of the manager - based on the idea that only companies or societies open to such disruption will allow the young to rise up within the hierarchy. Using this proxy at the firm, patent and country level, we present robust evidence that openness to disruption is associated with more creative innovations, but we also show that once the effect of the sorting of young managers to firms that are more open to disruption is factored in, the (causal) impact of manager age on creative innovations is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Ufuk Akcigit & Murat Alp Celik, 2014. "Young, Restless and Creative: Openness to Disruption and Creative Innovations," NBER Working Papers 19894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19894
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    Cited by:

    1. Aghion, Philippe & Akcigit, Ufuk & Bergeaud, Antonin & Blundell, Richard William & Hémous, David, 2015. "Innovation and Top Income Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 10659, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ron Boschma, 2015. "Towards an Evolutionary Perspective on Regional Resilience," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 733-751, May.
    3. Boschma, Ron & Capone, Gianluca, 2015. "Institutions and diversification: Related versus unrelated diversification in a varieties of capitalism framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1902-1914.
    4. Serafinelli, Michel & Tabellini, Guido, 2017. "Creativity over Time and Space," CEPR Discussion Papers 12365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Zheng, Zhijie & Huang, Chien-Yu & Yang, Yibai, 2018. "Inflation and Growth: A Non-Monotonic Relationship in an Innovation-Driven Economy," MPRA Paper 84768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Alex Bell & Raj Chetty & Xavier Jaravel & Neviana Petkova & John Van Reenen, 2017. "Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1519, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Yannu Zheng & Olof Ejermo, 2015. "How do the foreign-born perform in inventive activity? Evidence from Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 659-695, July.
    8. Yunus Aksoy & Ron P. Smith & Tobias Grasl & Henrique S. Basso, 2015. "Demographic structure and macroeconomic trends," Working Papers 1528, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    9. Akcigit, Ufuk & Grigsby, John & Nicholas, Tom, 2017. "The Rise of American Ingenuity: Innovation and Inventors of the Golden Age," CEPR Discussion Papers 11755, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Ruben Gaetani & Enrico Berkes, 2015. "The Geography of Unconventional Innovation," 2015 Meeting Papers 896, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Bartz, Wiebke & Mohnen, Pierre & Schweiger, Helena, 2016. "The role of innovation and management practices in determining firm productivity in developing economies," MERIT Working Papers 034, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    12. Pau Roldan & Laurent Cavenaile, 2016. "Advertising, Innovation and Economic Growth," 2016 Meeting Papers 150, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Christopher Goetz & Henry Hyatt & Erika McEntarfer & Kristin Sandusky, 2016. "The Promise and Potential of Linked Employer-Employee Data for Entrepreneurship Research," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses: Current Knowledge and Challenges, pages 433-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Swarnodeep Homroy & Aurelie Cecile Dominique Slechten, 2016. "Board expertise, networked boards and environmental performance," Working Papers 140306795, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    15. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Economic Development, Novelty Consumption, and Body Weight: Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 8967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Mu-Jeung Yang & Lorenz Kueng & Bryan Hong, 2015. "Business Strategy and the Management of Firms," NBER Working Papers 20846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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