Crossover Inventions and Knowledge Diffusion of General Purpose Technologies? Evidence from the Electrical Technology

55 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2008 Last revised: 16 May 2022

See all articles by Shih-Tse Lo

Shih-Tse Lo

McGill University - Department of Economics

Dhanoos Sutthiphisal

Assumption University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2008

Abstract

Scholars have long noted the significant impact of general purpose technologies (GPTs) on the economy. However, limited attention has been paid to exploring how they are employed to generate inventions in downstream sectors (crossover inventions), and what factors may facilitate such diffusion. We study these issues by examining the introduction of one of the widely regarded GPTs -- electrical technology -- in the late 19th century U.S. We find that knowledge spillovers between industries (inter-industry spillovers and learning-by-using) had little influence on the geography of crossover inventions as well as the speed and productivity of inventors at making them. Instead, appropriate human capital and an environment promoting inventions in general played a more important role.

Suggested Citation

Lo, Shih-Tse and Sutthiphisal, Dhanoos, Crossover Inventions and Knowledge Diffusion of General Purpose Technologies? Evidence from the Electrical Technology (May 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14043, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1139359

Shih-Tse Lo

McGill University - Department of Economics ( email )

855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A 2T7
Canada

Dhanoos Sutthiphisal (Contact Author)

Assumption University ( email )

Dept of Business Economics, Assumption University
Bangna Trad Rd, Km 26
Bang Sao Tong, Samut Prakarn 10540
Thailand

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
22
Abstract Views
570
PlumX Metrics