Productivity and Innovation

Manuel García Santana, Josep Pijoan-Mas, Enrique Moral-Benito, Roberto Ramos, 23 May 2016

Spain enjoyed substantial growth in the decade prior to the Global Crisis, despite declining aggregate productivity. Recent research blames the poor productivity on different forms of a ‘financial resource curse’. This column argues that resource misallocation was particularly severe due to corruption and crony capitalism. This suggests future growth will require serious political reforms. 

Timo Boppart, Per Krusell, 21 May 2016

The rise of automation and, more generally, IT-driven structural change in the labour market have made policymakers and researchers worry about ‘disappearing jobs’ and a dire future for employment. This column examines data from several countries to get a long-term view of labour supply. To the extent that productivity improvements continue, hours worked will indeed likely fall. But this will not necessarily be a bad thing and jobs will not necessarily disappear.

Santiago Caicedo, Robert E. Lucas, Jr., Esteban Rossi-Hansberg , 14 May 2016

A large part of people’s wages rewards the knowledge embedded in them that they use in a production endeavour. Knowledgeable individuals specialise in hard, complicated tasks, while less knowledgeable ones specialise in simpler, more common tasks. This column uses a dynamic model of knowledge accumulation over time and career paths to find an underlying cause for wage inequality in the US over the last few decades. A good explanation for the wage inequality is the discrepancy between the rate of technological change and the rate at which the distribution of knowledge catches up.

Paula Stephan, Jian Wang, Reinhilde Veugelers, 12 May 2016

There is growing concern that funding agencies supporting scientific research are increasingly risk-averse, favouring safe projects at the expense of novel projects exploring untested approaches. This column uses the citation trajectories for over 1 million research papers to examine the impact profile of novel research. Novel papers tend to suffer from delayed impact, but are more likely to become big hits in the long run and to generate follow-up research. The short time windows of the bibliometric indicators that are increasingly used by funding agencies in their decision-making may bias funding decisions against novelty.

Michael Kosfeld, Susanne Neckermann, Xiaolan Yang, 08 May 2016

Employees care about more than just money. Understanding these non-monetary motivations can help organisations incentivise performance. This column presents evidence from a field experiment that explored the motivational effects of ‘meaningful’ work. Recognition and meaning are found to have substitutive motivational effects, while monetary incentives and meaning have additive effects. 

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