Daniel Lemire is a computer science professor at the Data Science Laboratory of the Université du Québec (TÉLUQ) in Montreal. His research is focused on software performance and data engineering. He is a techno-optimist and a free-speech advocate.
Good looking people have greater social networks and may receive favorable treatment from others, but it is a mixed blessing. They are better supported, but might also be enticed to party more and invest more in sex which takes time away from work.
In A global decline in research productivity? Evidence from China and Germany, the authors verify recent results related the United States pointing that while the number of researchers is steadily increasing, high-value outputs do not seem to increase at a similar rate. One possible implication for these results is that, keeping everything else equal, increasing the number of researchers is wasteful. In fact, it may suggest that we are overesting in the production of new researchers (i.e., we might be training too many PhDs). My own take is that we are insufficiently preoccupied with research productivity. We encourage researchers to write grant applications, publish papers, acquire rents (i.e., patents), but innovation is based on a “throw over the wall” model from the researcher’s point of view. A typical researcher believe that it is not his or her purpose to enhance products, cure diseases and so forth. The simplistic approach of “getting more researchers” may therefore not translate into new innovative products and cancer cures. To get to Mars, we may need more people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, more Moon projects, and fewer new PhDs. Even if you disagree with this last assertion, the fact is that it becomes harder and harder to justify training more PhDs in the hope of getting more prosperity.