James McNerney is a senior researcher at the Growth Lab in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He joined the team in 2018.
His research interests lie at the intersection of economic and physical systems with a particular focus on the dynamics of technologies. His research examines the processes by which technologies evolve and how this leads to performance improvements, adoption, environmental impacts, and macroeconomic outcomes of economic growth and structural transformation. He draws on frameworks in complex networks, engineering, and economics to describe and understand these processes.
Before coming to the Growth Lab, McNerney was a researcher and Leading Technology and Policy Fellow at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT. He was a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Boston University, where he completed a PhD in physics.
McNerney, J., Savoie, C., Caravelli, F., Carvalho, V. M., & Farmer, J. D. (2022). "How
production networks amplify economic growth." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(1).
- 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.