Economists Often Say History Is Irrelevant. That’s A Mistake

Examining the past is essential to understanding the present

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Economists often think history isn’t relevant to their work, says Petra Moser. That’s misguided: History is both informative and accessible, and studying it deepens economists’ research. Moser applies this philosophy to her own work on innovation, which draws heavily from historical examples. Her research has found that very strong intellectual property rights governing innovation or creativity “typically don’t help,” but basic protections allow creative individuals to produce better work. Moser has also found that patent systems have differential impacts on inventors across industries.

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