Shiller on innovation….

Robert Shiller’s NYT column this morning is about the centrality of individual innovation to national success. It’s here. What makes the piece exceptional to me however is Shiller writing about his own trajectory which of course combined being a Yale economics professor with an entrepreneurial bent that led to the creation a very famous real estate index.

Even more interesting to me is that Shiller attributes the origin of his success outside the academy to the support of the National Science Foundation. Money quote:

Long before I started any commercial ventures of my own, I received some federal government support — in the form of National Science Foundation research grants, awarded to me decades ago as a young professor. They allowed me to do research, and though it was not directly related to my later business endeavors, the process developed my expertise and reinforced a sense of entrepreneurial opportunity.

I’m currently serving a term on the NSF’s Advisory Committee for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate–that’s the piece of NSF that supports young economists, future Shillers of the world. Today’s column makes that service feel all the more useful.