Tuesday, February 11, 2014 2:20pm

Innovation and Growth

Future innovations worldwide will not be transformational enough to promote sustained per-capita economic growth rates in the U.S. and western Europe over the next century as high as those over the past 150 years.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel
Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Disagree 10
The right answer is "uncertain". But "disagree" emphasizes that the view that we are running out of ideas, which has little basis.
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Uncertain 3
Technical innovation will continue to be rapid, but resource and environmental constraints in a crowded world will hinder per capita growth.
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 5
That's a ridiculously high bar to cross, since no other period in human history has ever seen anything like the last 150 years!
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Disagree 6
The average per capita growth rate over the last 150 years only 1.7-1.8% which would not need to transformative innovations to happen.
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Disagree 6
genomics, robotic, communication.... Emerging economies will increasingly contribute to global R&D spending with positive spillover effects.
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Uncertain 10
The answer is certainly uncertain
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Disagree 4
The long term declining is very worrying. But it also might be that we are not measuring quality or new goods well.
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Disagree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Disagree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale No Opinion
Hard to predict 100 years ahead.
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Uncertain 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Disagree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago No Opinion
i'm unaware of any serious evidence that would help one formulate a reliable opinion.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Uncertain 10
The cone of dispersion for productivity forecasts is so wide that no such statement has any support. Che sera, sera.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 10
Economists are bad at predicting the far future. Technological advances have been amazing in the last few years and anything is possible.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Strongly Disagree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Uncertain 10
I am certain that anyone sensible should be uncertain. If one can predict innovation well, one should not be an economist but an inventor.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Strongly Disagree 8
Innovation need not slow. The vast changes in what we consume and how we work make "income" a poor measure of wellbeing over a century.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Uncertain 9
Last 150 years have seen huge increases in living standards. Similar future increases an even bet given IT revolution and human ingenuity.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Uncertain 8
We would have never forecast most the past breakthroughs, no reason to think we are any better at doing so now. No way this is knowable.
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Uncertain 10 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Uncertain 1
Wow - tough question. Maybe if the answer is a clear no, we can reconvene the panel in 150 years to discuss.
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Uncertain 1
Who knows?
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Uncertain 9
Uncertaint = unpredicatable. The unpredictability of fundamental invention is amply demonstrated from theory and history.
Bio/Vote History
         
Obstfeld Maurice Obstfeld Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Disagree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Disagree 8
Unimagined innovations have revolutionized life in the past, and I suspect they will continue to do so.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Uncertain 8
The surprises of the last 150 years should make clear the folly of trying to forecast the next 150.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Uncertain 1
History suggests optimism, but 150 years is a mighty long time.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Disagree 1
Very hard to predict this far in the future.
Bio/Vote History
         
Stokey Nancy Stokey Chicago Uncertain 10
Views on this are pure speculation. There is no economic theory or empirical evidence to inform the issue.
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago No Opinion
I don't know how anyone could have any confidence in this sort of prediction. Good that no one can be proven wrong.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Disagree 1
Billions of people escaping poverty unleashes billions of minds for innovation. Hence my optimism. But tempered with much uncertainty.
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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