Young Guns

The NYT has an article listing the 13 young economists to watch. I’m delighted to see that it includes my friend Justin Wolfers. A point not made by the NYT is how Harvard-centric it is. By my calculations, 8 of those on the list did their PhD at Harvard.

Economists to Watch

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10 Responses to Young Guns

  1. Further evidence of (intimate) peer effects?

  2. Christine says:

    My god, the number of married couples is ridiculously large. Suggests non-randomness. What’s the likely causal mechanism, then? Peer effects or maybe self-selection? Any other options?

  3. Damien Eldridge says:

    Greg Mankiw has a post on this at his blog as well:

    http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/01/rising-stars.html .

    He notes that all but one of the economists on this list have been associated with Harvard in one way or another. Some of the commenters on his site have noted that the list consists entirely of applied microeconomists, possibly due to the emphasis on “real world problems”.

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  5. Andrew Leigh says:

    Christine, I knew all six of the marrieds when they were singles. Depressingly, they were just as brilliant then.

  6. Christine says:

    Bugger.

  7. It’s great to see the response of the discipline to the diminishing marginal returns to high theory. A return to empirical research.

  8. Damien Eldridge says:

    Nick, I suspect that the lack of theorists on this list probably is due largely to the question that was asked. It seems that people have interpreted real world relevance as meaning applied work rather than theoretical work.

    In terms of diminishing marginal returns, I suspect that the “economic knowledge” production function is rather like most production functions that are used in textbooks. The marginal product of any particular type of research is an increasing function of the amount of other types of research (after some point, at least) and a decreasing function of the amount of that type of research that has been done after some point). I do not know whether it exhibits constant returns tro scale or increasing returns to scale, however.

    This might be illustrated by the different nature of the IO and labour literature over the last few decades. IO was dominated by theoretical research for much of this time (at least partly due to the relative difficulty in obtainning good IO data). As a result, there is currently a high marginal product for empirical research. Indeed, there has been increased attention paid to empirical research in IO in recent uears. Labour has been dominated by empirical research over much of this period. I suspect that good theoretical research in labour would probably have a high marginal product at present.

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