How Resilient is Venture-Backed Innovation? Evidence from Four Decades of U.S. Patenting
54 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020 Last revised: 29 Apr 2021
Date Written: January 1, 2021
By comparing patenting among VC-backed firms to the universe of U.S. patents over the period 1976-2019, we document that while patents filed by VC-backed firms are of significantly higher quality and economic importance than the average patent, VC-backed innovation is substantially more procyclical than innovation in the broader economy. This is driven by early-stage startups, whose innovation in recessions is relatively less cited, less original, less general, and less related to fundamental science. Our findings are most consistent with frictions in capital supply playing an important role, leading VCs to change their investment focus during downturns towards less innovative startups.
Keywords: Patents, Business Cycles, Recessions
JEL Classification: G24, O31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation