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Causes, Consequences and Dynamics of 'Complex' Distributions of Technological Activities: The Case of Prolific Inventors

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Author Info

  • William Latham

    ()
    (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)

  • Christian Le Bas

    ()
    (Department of Economics,University Lumière Lyon 2)

Abstract

We provide a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of the observed shapes of the distributions of individual inventors' productivities. We review a literature that begins with Lotka's (1926) "law" regarding the persistence of variability in scientific productivity at any point in time and also over time. We discuss use of the "power law" and the Pareto distribution to describe and explain the empirical distributions. We focus on the upper parts of the frequency distributions for inventors exploring the processes underlying knowledge accumulation at the individual level, including its features, characteristics, and structural trends. Finally we explore the specific processes by which these individuals create, maintain, and increase knowledge accumulation as their careers evolve.

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File URL: http://graduate.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/files/ECON/PDFs/RePEc/dlw/WorkingPapers/2010/UDWP2010-02.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Delaware, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-02.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Handbook on The Economic Complexity of Technological Change, Cristiano Antonelli (ed.), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2011.
Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:10-02.

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Purnell Hall, Newark, Delaware 19716
Phone: (302) 831-2565
Fax: (302) 831-6968
Web page: http://www.lerner.udel.edu/departments/economics/department-economics/
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Keywords: patents; inventors; prolific; lotka;

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Cited by:
  1. Magda Fontana, 2014. "Pluralism(s) in economics: lessons from complexity and innovation. A review paper," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 189-204, January.
  2. William Latham & Christian Le Bas & Dmitry Volodin, 2011. "Value of invention, prolific inventor productivity and mobility : evidence from five countries, 1975-2002," Working Papers 1133, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  3. William Latham & Dmitry Volodin & Christian Le Bas & Riad Bouklia Hassane, 2011. "Interregional mobility, productivity and the value of patents for prolific inventors in France, Germany and the U.K," Working Papers 11-06, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

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