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Event Summary

Monday at AEI, Fredrik Erixon, coauthor of “The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard” (Yale University Press, 2016), argued that the declining pace of innovation in Western economies during the past few decades can be attributed to the increasing dominance of financial institutions over capitalists, corporate bureaucratization, globalization that reduces competition in certain markets, and restrictive, opaque regulations.

George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen, while agreeing that growth has been stagnant, offered an opposing view for the sake of discussion: Even though economic growth has slowed, there is more invisible innovation in society. For example, ideas are much more portable now.

Björn Weigel, the other coauthor of “The Innovation Illusion,” emphasized that the wealthiest companies are less entrepreneurial, leading to fewer technological advancements in the future. AEI’s James Pethokoukis followed that technologists are often more optimistic than economists on the pace of technological advancement. Mr. Weigel replied that technological entrepreneurs tend to believe in their inventions and give an overly simplified story of how a business is run. Dr. Cowen added that the discrepancy can be explained when one takes both the dynamic and stagnant sectors into account, and the overall growth is slow in general.

–Hao-Kai Pai

Event Description

Have market economies across the Western world become less dynamic? In “The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard” (Yale University Press, 2016), Fredrik Erixon and Bjorn Weigel examine how existing government regulations and corporate practices hamper innovation in the economy.

AEI will host an expert panel to discuss the apparent disconnect between visible technological advances and the lack of dynamism across Western economies, the role of specific corporate practices fostering stasis, and the decline of social and geographic mobility. Finally, it will seek to find effective public policy antidotes against economic stagnation.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

Join the conversation on social media with #WhatNext.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


3:45 PM

4:00 PM
Stan Veuger, AEI

4:05 PM
Opening remarks:
Fredrik Erixon, European Centre for International Political Economy

4:10 PM
Panel discussion

Tyler Cowen, George Mason University
Fredrik Erixon, European Centre for International Political Economy
James Pethokoukis, AEI
Björn Weigel, European Centre for International Political Economy

Stan Veuger, AEI

5:15 PM

5:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Hao-Kai Pai at [email protected], 202.862.5891.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Tyler Cowen is Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. With Alex Tabarrok, he is coauthor of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution and cofounder of the online educational platform Marginal Revolution University. A dedicated writer and communicator of economic ideas who has written extensively on the economics of culture, Dr. Cowen is the author of several books and is widely published in academic journals and the popular media. He writes a column for Bloomberg View; has contributed extensively to national publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and Money; and serves on the advisory board of American Interest. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, Ethics, and Philosophy & Public Affairs. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in economics and received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Fredrik Erixon is a Swedish economist and writer. He is the director of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a world-economy think tank based in Brussels, which he cofounded in 2006 with Razeen Sally. Since then, Mr. Erixon has led the development of ECIPE to become one of Brussels’ leading research-based institutes. In 2010, the Financial Times ranked Mr. Erixon as one of Brussel’s 30 most influential people. He is the author of several books and studies international economics, economic policy, and regulatory affairs. He has also advised several governments in Europe and worldwide and is a frequent speaker at conferences. Before starting ECIPE, he was an adviser to the British government and the chief economist of Timbro, a Swedish think tank. He started his career as an economist in the prime minister’s office in Sweden and later worked as an economist at the World Bank and for JP Morgan as an emerging market analyst. He was educated at the University of Oxford, London School of Economics, and Uppsala University.

James Pethokoukis is a columnist and blogger at AEI. Previously, he was the Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters. He was the business editor and economics columnist for US News & World Report from 1997 to 2008. He has written for many publications, including The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, National Review, The Washington Examiner, USA Today, and Investor’s Business Daily. He is an official CNBC contributor. In addition, he has appeared numerous times on MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, “The McLaughlin Group,” CNN, and “Nightly Business Report” on PBS. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, Mr. Pethokoukis is a 2002 “Jeopardy!” champion.

Stan Veuger is a resident scholar at AEI, where his research is in political economy and public finance. He is also the editor of AEI Economic Perspectives. In the fall of 2016, he was a visiting lecturer of economics at Harvard University. Dr. Veuger’s research has been published in leading academic and professional journals, including the Journal of Monetary Economics, the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. He is the editor, with Michael Strain, of “Economic Freedom and Human Flourishing: Perspectives from Political Philosophy” (AEI Press, 2016). He also writes frequently for general audiences on economics, politics, and popular culture. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the Los Angeles Times, The National Interest, The New York Times, and USA Today, among others. Dr. Veuger serves as a board member of the Altius Society and as the chairman of the Washington, DC, chapter of the Netherland-America Foundation. He received a Ph.D. and an A.M. in economics from Harvard and an M.Sc. in economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He completed his undergraduate education at Utrecht University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Björn Weigel is a business strategist, investor, entrepreneur, and economic growth protagonist who commenced working as a management consultant (Booz Allen Hamilton) before starting his first company. He is the coauthor with Fredrik Erixon of “The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard” (Yale University Press, 2016), which claims that capitalism has lost its mojo. He is also part of the board of the European Centre for International Political Economy, an independent and nonprofit policy research think tank dedicated to trade policy and other international economic policy issues. He commenced his university studies in Canada before moving to Sweden and eventually Stockholm University.

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