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Determinants of Innovation Evidence from 19th Century World Fairs

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  • MOSER, PETRA

Abstract

Patent laws are designed to create the optimal incentives for innovation, but we know little about how exactly this works. The need to better understand the effects of patent laws is particularly urgent today, as industrialized countries lobby to introduce and strengthen patent laws in developing countries around the world. Although it is difficult to predict the results of such changes, historical data from the mid-nineteenth century may hold important lessons for patent policies today. The nineteenth century is an ideal period to study the effects of patent laws: Mid-nineteenth-century patent laws were adopted in a relatively ad-hoc manner, depending on legal traditions rather than economic considerations. Large differences in patent systems existed across countries, and patentees depended on domestic patent laws because patenting abroad was prohibitively expensive and almost all countries discriminated heavily against foreign patentees. As a result, domestic patent laws played a more important role in creating incentives for domestic invention than at any later stage in history.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 64 (2004)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 548-552

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:64:y:2004:i:02:p:548-552_23

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Cited by:
  1. Fontana, Roberto & Nuvolari, Alessandro & Shimizu, Hiroshi & Vezzulli, Andrea, 2013. "Reassessing patent propensity: Evidence from a dataset of R&D awards, 1977–2004," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 1780-1792.
  2. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine, 2012. "The case against patents," Working Papers 2012-035, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2012. "The Case Against Patents," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000465, David K. Levine.
  4. Luis Angeles, 2011. "Institutions, property rights, and economic development in historical perspective," Working Papers 2011_03, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.

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