"Economics can be so many things these days, but at the most fundamental level it's about the study of incentives and how people react to them. Some of my recent research looked at the 'explosion' in patenting by Chinese firms, which many commentators have interpreted as a sign that China is becoming an innovator. We were able show how government incentives have encouraged Chinese firms to file patents for almost anything, even if their 'inventions' represent a less than substantial advance. This is a classic example of how economic analysis helps us by proving whether the underlying fundamentals match the simple facts."
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