Accumulating knowledge over the economist's lifetime

Hendrik P. Van Dalen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this paper the reading behaviour of economists is examined to see whether particular types of knowledge-basic and applied-imply different investment patterns. The reading intensity of papers containing advanced economics declines with 3 to 6% per year of experience, although researchers and economists with a mathematical background start with a higher initial stock of knowledge of this type of literature. Investment in applied knowledge remains constant over time. Applied literature is not frequent read by mathematical economists, although they catch up with their non-mathematical colleagues in 12 to 15 years time. Besides the nature of knowledge, institutional incentives seem to matter. First, business and government economists concentrate on applied literature and new magazines. Second, the introduction of 'American' style graduate schools in Dutch academia has not brought about a fundamental change in the reading of advanced literature, but there are some signs that 'American' style PhDs are turning away from the locally applied economic literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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