It's an age old story, told by a geezer economist (born 1943!) Daniel S. Hamermesh
- First, it is clear that through the 1990s top-level economic research was very much a young person’s game – almost nobody over age 50 published a paper in these premier outlets;
- Second, this fact has changed in the last 15 years;
Although 80% of authors are below age 50, well above the fraction of PhDs teaching at North American and European universities, the percentage of ‘old’ (ages 51 years old and above) authors has increased from 5% to nearly 20%.
There’s hope for us older economists – the slowdown in technological advances has made the profession less like pure mathematics, more like a humanistic field. Old folks are demonstrably more able to compete at the frontiers of research than before. For younger economists, it might be a bit depressing. They no longer have the same advantage of the novelty of their skills as my generation did – the earlier unlikelihood that an ‘old guy’ would be intellectually readily substitutable for them.
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