Kaldor published some stylized facts about growth in the sixties and growth theorist went about explaining them. They’re done now. Professors Jones and Romer came up with a new set of growth facts (h/t Kling). I will spend my career hearing theories that explain these new facts. Yeah!
Two UC Davis econ profs are cited.
Also, in that paper is my original dissertation idea:
The interaction between institutions and idea flows is easy to illustrate in familiar contexts. For example, until 1996, opponents successfully used the local permit process to keep Wal-Mart from building stores or distribution centers in Vermont. This kept powerful logistics ideas like cross-docking that Wal-Mart pioneered from being used to raise productivity in retailing in the state. Such nonrival ideas must have been at least partly excludable. This is why Wal-Mart was willing to spend resources developing them and why competitors were not able to copy them. All this fits comfortably in the default model of endogenous discovery of ideas as partially excludable nonrival goods.
Looking at the macro (state-level) data, I couldn’t find the relationship suggested in the bolded section. There’s great data on Walmart’s spread out of Arkansas after its founding. If anybody’s interested in this stuff, I can pass on citations, etc.