Patents, International Technology Transfer and Industrial Dependence in 19th Century Spain
Sáiz, Patricio (2003): “Patents, International Technology Transfer and Spanish Industrial Dependence (1759‐1878)”, in L. Hilaire‐Pérez et A. F. Garçon (dirs.) Les chemins de la nouveauté. Innover, inventer au regard de l’histoire, Paris, Editions du CTHS (223-245)
19 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019
Date Written: 2003
In this paper we reflect on the processes of international technology transfer at the beginning of European industrialization. During this period, when the achievement and the spread of technical innovations were vital to the acceleration of economic growth, the more underdeveloped countries experienced an increase in technological dependency on the leading countries. In some of them, the transfer of foreign technical information was more important than that generated by the nation itself, which — in spite of the cost increase of implanting foreign innovations, given the scant integration of international equipment markets — supposed a reduction of the degree of uncertainty associated with all processes of technological changes. The main aim of the following pages is to analyse in detail the Spanish case, a country in economic decline at the end of the 18th century and well below the average for Europe for most of the 19th century. This well-known delay translated into an external technological dependence in several economic sectors, which left its mark on the patent system. Technological information which contains patent applications will be taken as a valid indicator — although only partial — of the direction and structure of the innovation processes in the Spanish economy. Upon careful study of the origin of patented inventions, it can be ascertained, among other things, the degree of dependence upon external technology; which countries played an essential role in the transfer of technology to Spain; and which economic sectors depended more on foreign technology.
Keywords: Technology Transfer, Patents, Spanish Economic History, Technological Change
JEL Classification: N63, O31, O33, O34
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