Innovation and Patents

Book chapter prepared for Louis Cain, Price Fishback, and Paul Rhode (editors) Oxford Handbook of Economic History, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2014

See all articles by Petra Moser

Petra Moser

NYU Stern Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

This chapter summarizes historical evidence on the link between patent laws and innovation. Earlier historical analyses have emphasized the importance of patent laws in encouraging innovation. Data on exhibits at international technology fairs, such as the 1851 Crystal Palace world’s fair, however, indicate that only a small share of innovations are patented and that non-patent mechanisms may play an important role in encouraging innovation. They also show that inventors’ dependency on patents varies strongly across industries, so that radical changes in patent laws may influence the direction if not the level of technical change. Exhibition data also indicate that patents may play an important role in facilitating encouraging the diffusion of innovative activity by encouraging inventors to advertise their ideas. These results highlight the need for additional analyses of innovation that systematically analyze patents and alternative measures of innovation.

Keywords: Patents, innovation, fairs, exhibitions, technical change.

JEL Classification: K11, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Moser, Petra, Innovation and Patents (September 30, 2014). Book chapter prepared for Louis Cain, Price Fishback, and Paul Rhode (editors) Oxford Handbook of Economic History, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503503

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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