Scaling of Patenting with Urban Population Size: Evidence from Global Metropolitan Areas

20 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2013

See all articles by José Lobo

José Lobo

Arizona State University (ASU)

Jonathan T. Rothwell

Gallup; Brookings Institution

Deborah Strumsky

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Date Written: January 30, 2013

Abstract

Larger agglomerations of individuals create a social environment can sustain a larger repertoire of intellectual capabilities, thereby facilitating the creation and recombination of ideas, and increasing the likelihood that interactions among individuals will occur through which new ideas are generated and shared. Relatedly, cities have long been the privileged setting for invention and innovation. These two phenomena are brought together in the superlinear scaling relationship whereby urban inventive output (measured through patenting) increases more than proportionally with increasing population size. We revisit the relationship between urban population size and patenting using data for a global set of metropolitan areas in the OECD and show, for the first time, that the superlinear scaling between patenting and population size observed for U.S. metropolitan areas holds for urban areas across a variety of urban and economic systems. In fact the scaling relationships established for the U.S. metropolitan system and for the global metropolitan system are remarkably similar.

Keywords: patents, innovation, global competitiveness, Urban scaling, Patenting, Global metropolitan areas, Superlinearity

JEL Classification: 031, 030

Suggested Citation

Lobo, Jose and Rothwell, Jonathan T. and Strumsky, Deborah, Scaling of Patenting with Urban Population Size: Evidence from Global Metropolitan Areas (January 30, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2209142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2209142

Jose Lobo

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Jonathan T. Rothwell (Contact Author)

Gallup ( email )

901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Deborah Strumsky

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

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