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American children are having fewer accidents than they once did, and our natural inclination is to cheer the news. The rate of “nonfatal fall injuries” among children ages 5 to 14, for example, declined by more than 10 percent from 2001 to 2012. But if fewer childhood falls reflect increasing attempts to safety-proof life, the trend might not be the improvement it seems. Various indicators suggesting reduced dynamism in the U.S. economy can be viewed similarly; our inclination is to celebrate a reduction in job-destruction rates, but should we?
Peter R. Orszag