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Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

Chapter:
(p.169) 6 Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity
Source:
The Changing Frontier
Author(s):
Chris FormanAvi GoldfarbShane Greenstein
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226286860.003.0007

This chapter examines the relationship between the diffusion of advanced internet technology and the geographic concentration of invention, as measured by patents. First, this chapter shows that patenting became more concentrated from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and, similarly, that counties that were leaders in patenting in the early 1990s produced relatively more patents by the early 2000s. Second, this chapter compares the extent of invention in counties that were leaders in internet adoption to those that were not. There is little difference in the growth rate of patenting between leaders and laggards in internet adoption, on average. However, it is found that the rate of patent growth was faster among counties who were not leaders in patenting in the early 1990s but were leaders in internet adoption by 2000, suggesting that the internet helped stem the trend towards more geographic concentration. This chapter shows that these results are largely driven by patents filed by distant collaborators rather than non‐collaborative patents or patents by non‐distant collaborators, suggesting low cost long‐distance digital communication as a potential mechanism.

Keywords:   patenting, invention, convergence, divergence, information technology, internet

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