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Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns

In: Cities and Entrepreneurship

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  • Ajay Agrawal
  • Iain Cockburn
  • Carlos Rosell

Abstract

We examine variation in the concentration of inventive activity across 72 of North America's most highly innovative locations. In 12 of these areas, innovation is particularly concentrated in a single, large firm; we refer to such locations as "company towns". We find that inventors employed by large firms in these locations tend to draw disproportionately from their firm's own prior inventions (as measured by citations to their own prior patents) relative to what would be expected given the underlying distribution of innovative activity across all inventing firms in a particular technology field. Furthermore, we find such inventors are more likely to build upon the same prior inventions year after year. However, smaller firms in company towns do not exhibit this myopic behavior; they draw upon prior inventions as broadly as their small-firm counterparts in more diverse locations. In addition, we find that inventions by large firms in company towns have less impact than those produced elsewhere, although the difference is modest, and that the impact is disproportionately appropriated by the inventing firms themselves. Finally, the geographic scope of impact realized by company town inventions is narrower, whether produced by large or small firms.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2010. "Cities and Entrepreneurship," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glae09-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11890.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11890

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    Cited by:
    1. Akcigit, Ufuk & Kerr, William R., 2013. "Growth through heterogeneous innovations," Research Discussion Papers 28/2013, Bank of Finland.
    2. Aurélie LALANNE (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Guillaume POUYANNE ( GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Ten years of metropolization in economics: a bibliometric approach (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    3. William R. Kerr, 2009. "Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 10-020, Harvard Business School.
    4. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Raquel Marín-López & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2012. "What underlies localization and urbanization economies? Evidence from the location of new firms," Working Papers 2012/9, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Aaron Chatterji & Edward Glaeser & William Kerr, 2013. "Clusters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 14, pages 129-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Raquel Marín-López & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2010. "The mechanisms of agglomeration: Evidence from the effect of inter-industry relations on the location of new firms," Working Papers 2010/49, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Yasusada Murata & Ryo Nakajima & Ryosuke Okamoto & Ryuichi Tamura, 2013. "Localized knowledge spillovers and patent citations: A distance-based approach (revised version)," GRIPS Discussion Papers 12-18, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    8. Yasusada Murata & Ryo Nakajima & Ryosuke Okamoto & Ryuichi Tamura, 2011. "Localized knowledge spillovers and patent citations: A distance-based approach," GRIPS Discussion Papers 11-11, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

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