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Bennet Woodcroft and the value of English patents, 1617-1841

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  • Nuvolari, Alessandro
  • Tartari, Valentina

Abstract

We examine the potentialities of a new indicator measuring the value of English patents in the period 1617-1841. The indicator is based on the relative visibility of each individual patent in the contemporary technical and legal literature as summarized in Bennet Woodcroft's Reference Index of Patents of Invention. We conclude that the indicator provides a reasonable proxy for the value of patents and that it can be usefully employed to shed light on the timing and scope of innovation during the Industrial Revolution. In particular, our indicator offers a suitable reconciliation between the patent records evidence and the Crafts-Harley view of the Industrial Revolution.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 97-115

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:97-115

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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Keywords: Patents Invention Industrial Revolution England;

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References

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  1. Gerald Silverberg & Bart Verspagen, 2003. "Breaking the waves: a Poisson regression approach to Schumpeterian clustering of basic innovations," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(5), pages 671-693, September.
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  3. Sullivan, Richard J., 1990. "The Revolution of Ideas: Widespread Patenting and Invention During the English Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 349-362, June.
  4. Christine MacLeod & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2006. "Inventive Activities, Patents and Early Industrialization. A Synthesis of Research Issues," DRUID Working Papers 06-28, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  5. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2011. "The Puzzle of Patent Value Indicators," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/60729, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Silverberg, G. & Verspagen, B., 2004. "The size distribution of innovations revisited: an application of extreme value statistics to citation and value measures of patent significance," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 04.17, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  7. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
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  11. Sullivan, Richard J., 1989. "England's Age of invention: The acceleration of patents and patentable invention during the industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 424-452, October.
  12. Nicholas Crafts, 2002. "Productivity growth in the Industrial Revolution: a new growth accounting perspective," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  13. Sullivan, Richard J., 1995. "Patent Counts and Textile Invention: A Comment on Griffiths, Hunt, and O’Brien," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(03), pages 666-670, September.
  14. Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
  15. Petra Moser, 2003. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World Fairs," NBER Working Papers 9909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. MacLeod,Christine, 2007. "Heroes of Invention," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873703.
  17. O’Brien, Patrick K. & Griffiths, Trevor & Hunt, Philip, 1995. "There Is Nothing Outside the Text, and There Is No Safety in Numbers: A Reply to Sullivan," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(03), pages 671-672, September.
  18. Bessen, James, 2009. "Estimates of patent rents from firm market value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1604-1616, December.
  19. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521687850.
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  21. Temin, Peter, 2000. "A Response to Harley and Crafts," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 842-846, September.
  22. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Working Papers 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1852," IAST Working Papers 14-07, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).

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