Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Nobel Prize types

Weinberg and Galenson published a NBER working paper which studies life cycle creativity among Nobel laureate economists using citation data. They identify two distinct life cycles of scholarly creativity. Experimental innovators work inductively, accumulating knowledge from experience. Conceptual innovators work deductively, applying abstract principles. They find that conceptual innovators do their most important work earlier in their careers than experimental laureates. For instance, 75% of the most extreme conceptual laureates published their single best work in the first 10 years of their career, while none of the experimental laureates did. Thus while experience benefits experimental innovators, newness to a field benefits conceptual innovators.

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