Productivity & Age: Evidence to Support Common Belief?

In summary, the conversation is about whether there is evidence to support the belief that intellectual productivity peaks in an individual's late teens, peaks in their 20s, and declines in their 30s. The person is unsure of what search terms to use when researching this topic and asks for a general term for this belief. They also inquire about any supporting evidence. Another person suggests searching for "productivity versus age" and provides a report and excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Aging as potential sources. The report states that the success rate of works produced by creative individuals does not decrease with age, although they may produce fewer masterpieces. The second source has not been read yet.
  • #1


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I'm looking for some information regarding whether there is any evidence to support the widely held view that intellectual productivity peaks of an individual rises from their late teens, peaks in their 20s and starts to decline in their 30s. However, I'm not sure that search terms to use when Googling for info. Is there a general term for this belief? And is it supported in any way?
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  • #2
I performed a search for "productivity versus age," no quotes, on Google Scholar and came up with the attached report by Cesare Marchetti. In addition, I've attached an excerpt on creativity from the Encyclopedia of Aging (2002) that discusses the indicators of productivity and includes a helpful bibliography.

Hope these help! To find more sources, I recommend checking out your library's subscriptions to reference databases.


  • creativity.pdf
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  • prodage.pdf
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  • #3
From the first paper linked to
If one looks at the quality ratio of successful
works relative to total works produced in consecutive age periods, one discovers that this ratio does not change systematically over the course of a creative career. Most notably, this success rate does not diminish as a creator ages. As a result, although creative elders
may produce fewer masterpieces in their final years, they also generate fewer inferior works. On a work-for-work basis, there is absolutely no reason to speak of any age related decrement.

I haven't read the second yet.

1. How does age affect productivity?

There is evidence to suggest that as individuals get older, their productivity may decrease. However, this can vary greatly depending on the individual and the type of work they are doing. Some studies have found that older workers may have a slower pace of work, but also have more experience and knowledge to compensate for this. Other factors such as health, job satisfaction, and work environment can also play a role in productivity.

2. Is there an age at which productivity declines?

Research has shown that productivity tends to peak in the late 40s and early 50s, and then gradually decline with age. However, this decline is not universal and can vary depending on the individual and the type of work they are doing. Some studies have also found that older workers may have a more consistent level of productivity compared to younger workers.

3. Can older workers be just as productive as younger workers?

Yes, older workers can be just as productive as younger workers. While there may be a slight decline in productivity with age, this can be offset by the experience, knowledge, and skills that come with age. Many older workers also have a strong work ethic and are motivated to continue being productive. Additionally, factors such as training, technology, and workplace accommodations can help older workers maintain their productivity.

4. How can employers support productivity among older workers?

Employers can support productivity among older workers by providing flexible work options, such as part-time or remote work, to accommodate any physical limitations or health concerns. Training and development opportunities can also help older workers stay up-to-date with new technology and skills. Additionally, creating a positive and inclusive work culture that values the contributions of all employees can help boost productivity among older workers.

5. Is there a correlation between age and job satisfaction?

Research has shown that older workers tend to have higher job satisfaction compared to younger workers. This could be due to a combination of factors such as job security, experience, and a sense of fulfillment from a long career. However, job satisfaction can vary greatly among individuals and can also be influenced by other factors such as work-life balance, job responsibilities, and company culture.

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