James McNerney is a Research Associate at the Growth Lab in the Center for International Development. He joined the team in 2018.
His research looks at the processes governing technology improvement, and how this improvement leads to changes in cost and performance, environmental impacts, and economic growth. Some specific work includes developing methods to attribute technology cost changes to causal factors, relating rates of technology improvement to properties of design, and examining the role of industry network structure in economic growth.
Before coming to the Growth Lab, McNerney was a Research Scientist at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at MIT. Previously he was a Leading Technology and Policy Fellow at IDSS. He was a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Boston University, where he completed a Ph.D. in physics studying technology cost evolution. He holds B.A.’s in Physics and Mathematics from Boston University.
- Kavlak, G., McNerney, J., & Trancik, J.E. "Evaluating the causes of cost reduction in photovoltaic modules." Energy Policy, 123 (2018), pp. 700-710.
- Needell, Z., McNerney, J., Chang, M., & Trancik, J.E. "Potential for widespread electrification of personal vehicle travel in the United States." Nature Energy, 1 (2016).
- McNerney, J., Fath, B.D., & Silverberg, G. “Network structure of inter-industry flows.” Physica A, 392 (2013), pp. 6427-6441.
- McNerney, J., Farmer, J.D., Redner, S., & Trancik, J.E. “Role of design complexity in technology improvement.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 108 (2011), pp. 9009 - 9013.
- McNerney, J., Farmer, J.D., & Trancik, J.E. “Historical costs of coal-fired electricity and implications for the future.” Energy Policy, 39 (2011), pp. 3042 - 3054.