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International trends in technological progress: stylized facts from patent citations, 1980-2011

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  • Soonwoo Kwon
  • Jihong Lee
  • Sokbae 'Simon' Lee

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Seoul National University)

Abstract

We analyze cross-country trends in technological progress over the period of 1980-2011 by examining citations data from almost 4 million utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Oce (USPTO). Our estimation results on patent quality and distance to the knowledge frontier reveal the following stylized facts. The emerging Asian economies of Korea, Taiwan and China have indeed achieved substantial catch-up towards the technology frontier. In the case of Korea and Taiwan, progress has been made in terms of patent quality as well as distance to the frontier. Chinese patents are of higher quality now than before but Chinese inventors have yet to reduce the citation lag relative to the frontier. In contrast, advanced economies of Europe and Japan have displayed steady decline in their patent quality. Finally, the US has maintained, and in some cases strengthened, its position as the world technology frontier.

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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP16/14.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:16/14

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  1. Hu, Albert Guangzhou & Jefferson, Gary H., 2009. "A great wall of patents: What is behind China's recent patent explosion?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 57-68, September.
  2. Hu, Albert G. Z. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2003. "Patent citations and international knowledge flow: the cases of Korea and Taiwan," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 849-880, June.
  3. Peter Thompson & Melanie Fox Kean, 2004. "Patent Citations and the Geography of Knowledge Spillovers: A Reassessment," Working Papers 0401, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  4. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2003. "R&D and absorptive capacity : theory and empirical evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 209, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  8. Mancusi, Maria Luisa, 2008. "International spillovers and absorptive capacity: A cross-country cross-sector analysis based on patents and citations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 155-165, December.
  9. Lee,Keun, 2013. "Schumpeterian Analysis of Economic Catch-up," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107042681.
  10. Peter Thompson & Melanie Fox-Kean, 2005. "Patent Citations and the Geography of Knowledge Spillovers: A Reassessment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 465-466, March.
  11. Peter Thompson, 2004. "Patent Citations and the Geography of Knowledge Spillovers: Evidence from Inventor- and Examiner-Added Citations," Working Papers 0405, Florida International University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  12. Benjamin F. Jones, 2009. "The Burden of Knowledge and the "Death of the Renaissance Man": Is Innovation Getting Harder?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 283-317.
  13. Manuel Trajtenberg, 1990. "A Penny for Your Quotes: Patent Citations and the Value of Innovations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 172-187, Spring.
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