Sarah asks about age and productivity

[Please discuss the] relationship between age and productivity.

Economics has a real problem.  The smartest people, by the time they are forty (if that), have extremely lucrative opportunities for consulting.  They can earn hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour.  Most of them cash in, even if they continue to produce good work based on 80 percent of their core attention and capabilities.  We get a steady stream of young innovators, but we have few truly deep thinkers at the top of their game. 

On the other hand, the economics profession stays broader than it otherwise would be.  Non-lucrative fields, such as public choice, economic history, and cultural economics, keep their best thinkers to a greater degree, relative to econometrics and finance.  But perhaps these low-paying fields attract fewer really bright people in the first place.

#17 in a series of 50.


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