In writing research papers, economists solve the same problems over and over again.
The list is endless.
Consider what other disciplines do.
People who work on numerical math have access to a set of trusted code libraries (BLAS, NLopt, …).
There is a mechanism through which users can contribute to code (github) or discuss it (e.g., stackexchange).
Consider the development of the Julia language.
The result: Much of the time when users ask questions on how to solve a problem in
Julia, someone will simply point to an existing library.
Economics needs a similar setup for code and for data.
Instead of creating the same variables over and over again from each of the major datasets, there should be a place where the construction of such variables can be discussed and where code for constructing variables can be posted (and trusted).
Why does this not happen?
Because there is no payoff for individuals to run such an effort.
Can this problem be solved?
As a small first step, I have started to post reusable code I wrote at github.