Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1944201
 
 

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Knowledge Sharing Among Inventors: Some Historical Perspectives


James E. Bessen


Boston University - School of Law; Research on Innovation

Alessandro Nuvolari


Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM)

October 14, 2011

REVOLUTIONIZING INNOVATION: USERS, COMMUNITIES AND OPEN INNOVATION, MIT Press, 2012
Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11-51
LEM Working Paper 2011/21

Abstract:     
This chapter documents instances from past centuries where inventors freely shared knowledge of their innovations with other inventors. It is widely believed that such knowledge sharing is a recent development, as in Open Source Software. Our survey shows, instead, that innovators have long practiced “collective invention” at times, including inventions in such key technologies as steam engines, iron, steel, and textiles. Generally, innovator behavior was substantially richer than the heroic portrayal often found in textbooks and museums. Knowledge sharing promoted innovation, sometimes coexisting with patents, at other times, not, suggesting that policy should foster both knowledge sharing and invention incentives.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: technological change, knowledge sharing, collective invention, patents

JEL Classification: N70, O33, O34

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Date posted: October 15, 2011 ; Last revised: October 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Bessen, James E. and Nuvolari, Alessandro, Knowledge Sharing Among Inventors: Some Historical Perspectives (October 14, 2011). REVOLUTIONIZING INNOVATION: USERS, COMMUNITIES AND OPEN INNOVATION, MIT Press, 2012; Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 11-51; LEM Working Paper 2011/21. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1944201

Contact Information

James E. Bessen (Contact Author)
Boston University - School of Law ( email )
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
Research on Innovation ( email )
202 High Head Rd.
Harpswell, ME 04079
United States
617-531-2092 (Phone)
Alessandro Nuvolari
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )
Piazza Martiri della Liberta', 33-I-56127
Pisa
Italy
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