Patterns of Innovation During the Industrial Revolution: A Reappraisal Using a Composite Indicator of Patent Quality

44 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2019

See all articles by Alessandro Nuvolari

Alessandro Nuvolari

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa

Valentina Tartari

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Matteo Tranchero

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

We introduce a new bibliographic quality indicator for English patents granted in the period 1700-1850. The indicator is based on the visibility of each patent both in the contemporary legal and engineering literature and in modern authoritative works on the history of science and technology. The indicator permits to operationalize empirically the distinction between micro and macroinventions. Our findings indicate that macroinventions did not exhibit any specific time clustering, while at the same time they were characterized by a labor-saving bias. These results suggest that Mokyr's and Allen's views of macroinventions, rather than conflicting, should be regarded as complementary.

Keywords: industrial revolution, macroinventions, microinventions, patents

JEL Classification: N74, O31

Suggested Citation

Nuvolari, Alessandro and Tartari, Valentina and Tranchero, Matteo, Patterns of Innovation During the Industrial Revolution: A Reappraisal Using a Composite Indicator of Patent Quality (August 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13958, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464483

Alessandro Nuvolari (Contact Author)

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa ( email )

Biblioteca Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
Piazza Martiri della Liberta, n. 33
Pisa, 56127
Italy

Valentina Tartari

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

Matteo Tranchero

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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