International Trends in Technological Progress: Evidence from Patent Citations, 1980-2011
48 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 2015
We analyze cross-country trends in several aspects of technological progress over the period of 1980-2011 by examining citations data from almost 4 million utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Our estimation results on patent quality and citation lags relative to the US reveal the following observations. The emerging Asian economies of Korea, Taiwan and China have achieved substantial catch-up. In the case of Korea and Taiwan, progress has been made in terms of patent quality as well as citation lags. Chinese patents are of higher quality now than before but Chinese inventors have yet to reduce the citation lag relative to the frontier. In contrast, advanced economies of Europe and Japan have displayed steady decline in their patent quality. Finally, the US has strengthened its position in the international patent quality ladder.
Keywords: Innovation, patent citation, patent quality, distance to the knowledge frontier, international comparison
JEL Classification: O33, O57
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