Invisible geniuses: Could the knowledge frontier advance further?

Patrick Gaule, Ruchir Agarwal

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


The advancement of the knowledge frontier is crucial for technological innovation and human progress. Using novel data from the setting of mathematics, this paper establishes two results. First, we document that individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent in their teenage years have an irreplaceable ability to create new ideas over their lifetime, suggesting that talent is a central ingredient in the production of knowledge. Second, such talented individuals born in low- or middle-income countries are systematically less likely to become knowledge producers. Our findings suggest that policies to encourage exceptionally-talented youth to pursue scientific careers—especially those from lower income countries—could accelerate the advancement of the knowledge frontier.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherInternational Monetary Fund
Number of pages66
ISBN (Electronic)9781484385869
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2018

Publication series

NameIMF Working party report WP/18/268


  • Talent
  • Knowledge frontier
  • Innovation
  • IMO
  • Universities


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