Location and Technological Change in the American Glass Industry During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

44 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2000 Last revised: 9 Apr 2010

See all articles by Naomi R. Lamoreaux

Naomi R. Lamoreaux

Yale University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kenneth L. Sokoloff

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 1997

Abstract

Scholars have attempted to explain geographic clustering in inventive activity by arguing that it is connected with clustering in production or new investment. They have offered three possible reasons for this link: because invention occurs as a result of learning by doing; because new investment encourages experimentation with novel techniques; and because there are local information flows that make inventors more fertile in areas where producers are concentrated. In this article we test these theories by studying geographic patterns of production and invention in the glass industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We find that the patterns deviate significantly from what the theories would predict, and offer the alternative hypothesis that inventive activity proceeded most intensively in areas where markets for technology had developed most fully that is, where there were localized networks of institutions that mobilized information about technological opportunities and mediated relations among inventors, suppliers of capital, and those who would commercially develop or exploit new technologies.

Suggested Citation

Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Sokoloff, Kenneth L., Location and Technological Change in the American Glass Industry During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (February 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w5938. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225719

Naomi R. Lamoreaux (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.yale.edu/faculty1/lamoreaux.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Kenneth L. Sokoloff

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States
310-825-4249,310-825-1011 (Phone)
310-825-9528 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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