Neely on the Cost of Innovation at Williams College


normous thanks to Williams College Associate Chair and Professor of Economics Dr. Steven Nafziger for giving Neely & Daughters’ CEO and founder Margo Neely the honor of serving as guest lecturer for his course, “Inspiration/Perspiration: The Economics of Innovation.” It was truly a joy to share our work and present on logic and rigor, discipline and data, metrics, the market, and human myth – and share insights and DISRUPTIVE information that one can only relay in public in the cone of silence(!)

About the course: “From the iron plow, to the steam engine, to modern biotechnology, innovation drives economic growth and raises living standards. Whether we are talking about great inventions or small tweaks, the tools of economics can help us understand how new ideas, technologies, and products emerge, spread, and become obsolete. In this course, we will examine the creation of new knowledge, the translation of ideas and scientific advances into practical applications, and the adoption of new technologies by producers and consumers. We will study the incentives that potential innovators face, how these are affected by patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, how entrepreneurs finance and market their innovations and how different market structures can influence the resulting trajectory of innovation and adoption. We will also discuss how government policies can foster the financing and development of innovation. Throughout the course, we will explore historical and contemporary case studies of the creation, exploitation, and consequences of innovation.”

About Dr. Steven E. Nafziger: Dr. Nafziger is the Fairleigh Dickinson Jr., ’41 Professor of Economics and a Faculty Affiliate in History at Williams College. He is co-editor of the European Review of Economic History, a Research Associate with the Davis Center at Harvard, and serves as Co-PI on the NSF-funded Cliometrics Conference grant. In 2024, he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities and a Faculty Fellow at the Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College. Mostly an economic historian, Nafziger’s research covers a number of development-related questions in the context of late Imperial Russia. He teaches a variety of different courses, from introductory economics, to economic history, to development, to the economics of innovation. 

Margo Neely and Dr. Steven Nafziger on the Cost of Innovation, Williams College

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