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Patents and Innovation in Economic History

35 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016 Last revised: 3 Feb 2016

Petra Moser

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: January 28, 2016

Abstract

A strong tradition in economic history, which primarily relies on qualitative evidence and statistical correlations, has emphasized the importance of patents as a primary driver of innovation. Recent improvements in empirical methodology – through the creation of new data sets and advances in identification – have produced research that challenges this traditional view. The findings of this literature provide a more nuanced view of the effects of intellectual property, and suggest that when patent rights have been too broad or strong, they have actually discouraged innovation. This paper summarizes the major results from this research and presents open questions.

Keywords: Technical change, intellectual property, patents, science, creativity

JEL Classification: O3, O34, N00, L51, K00

Suggested Citation

Moser, Petra, Patents and Innovation in Economic History (January 28, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2712428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2712428

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer 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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