ICT, Collaboration, and Science-Based Innovation: Evidence from Bitnet

34 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2020

See all articles by Kathrin Wernsdorf

Kathrin Wernsdorf

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Markus Nagler

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Martin Watzinger

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 16, 2020

Abstract

Does access to information and communication technologies (ICT) increase innovation? We examine this question by exploiting the staggered adoption of BITNET across U.S. universities in the 1980s. BITNET, an early version of the Internet, enabled e-mail-based knowledge exchange and collaboration among academics. After the adoption of BITNET, university-connected inventors increase patenting substantially. The effects are driven by collaborative patents by new inventor teams. The patents induced by ICT are exclusively science-related and stem from fields where knowledge can be codified easily. In contrast, we neither find an effect on patents not building on science nor on inventors unconnected to universities.

Keywords: ICT, communication, knowledge diffusion, science-based innovation, university-patenting

JEL Classification: H54, L23, L86, O30, O32, O33

Suggested Citation

Wernsdorf, Kathrin and Nagler, Markus and Watzinger, Martin, ICT, Collaboration, and Science-Based Innovation: Evidence from Bitnet (October 16, 2020). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 20-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3713033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3713033

Kathrin Wernsdorf (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Markus Nagler

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054
Germany

Martin Watzinger

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

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