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Noah Smith

A Nobel Reminder of Why R&D Matters So Much

Paul Romer, co-winner of this year’s economics prize, showed that new discoveries create a virtuous cycle of growth.

Of growth and its virtues.

Of growth and its virtues.

Photographer: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

The 2018 economics Nobel prize went to Paul Romer and William Nordhaus, an extremely deserving pair of economists. In addition to honoring two scholars whose contributions have deeply influenced their field, the award points to a crucially important issue that the world is beginning to give short shrift — economic growth.

Growth in rich countries’ living standards has slowed during the past decade: