About New Things Under the Sun

New Things Under the Sun is a free newsletter about recent-ish research on the economics of innovation, science of science, creativity, and discovery. It is written to be accessible to non-specialists, but with enough depth for you to understand the methods and evidence for claims made. Thanks to generous support from Emergent Ventures at the Mercatus Center, New Things Under the Sun is published every 10 days or so.

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Who are you?

Matt Clancy! I’m a progress studies fellow at Emergent Ventures. I did a dissertation on the economics of innovation, worked on science policy as a research economist at the USDA for a few years, and now teach at Iowa State University, in the Department of Economics. Among other things, I teach an economics of innovation class and do research on innovation. Learn more about me here.

How do you decide what to write about?

I think a group of papers approaching a question from different perspectives is more informative than profiling a single really cool research project; it’s also closer to how knowledge actually evolves. So my usual (but not universal) format is to pick a handful of papers around a common question or theme. All else equal, I lean towards newer work, and work that is not already getting a lot of coverage.

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That said, to keep things short, I have to leave off relevant papers; I’m also not trying to write a comprehensive literature review every two weeks. However, over time, I plan to return to topics and by building a network of links to previous newsletters, hopefully a more nuanced picture of the evolving state of research emerges.


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Lastly, ask yourself: