Do Patents Weaken the Localization of Innovations? Evidence from World's Fairs
25 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2006 Last revised: 1 Feb 2014
Date Written: October 23, 2010
This paper takes advantage of an exogenous shift towards patenting in chemicals to test whether patents contribute to the geographic diffusion of innovations. Data on U.S. innovations that were exhibited at four world fairs between 1851 and 1915 suggest that innovative activity became less localized after patenting rates increased. These changes cannot be explained by changes in the localization of chemical production or economy-wide changes in the localization of innovations.
Keywords: Innovation, Patents, Knowledge Spillovers, Localization, Economic History
JEL Classification: O30, O31, O34, N00, N13, R12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation