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Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

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  • Chris Forman
  • Avi Goldfarb
  • Shane Greenstein

Abstract

We examine the relationship between the diffusion of advanced internet technology and the geographic concentration of invention, as measured by patents. First, we show that patenting became more concentrated from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and, similarly, that counties that were leaders in patenting in the early 1990s produced relatively more patents by the early 2000s. Second, we compare the extent of invention in counties that were leaders in internet adoption to those that were not. We see little difference in the growth rate of patenting between leaders and laggards in internet adoption, on average. However, we find that the rate of patent growth was faster among counties who were not leaders in patenting in the early 1990s but were leaders in internet adoption by 2000, suggesting that the internet helped stem the trend towards more geographic concentration. We show that these results are largely driven by patents filed by distant collaborators rather than non-collaborative patents or patents by non-distant collaborators, suggesting low cost long-distance digital communication as a potential mechanism.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20036.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Publication status: Forthcoming: Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity , Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein. in The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy , Jaffe and Jones. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20036

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Ajay Agrawal & John McHale & Alexander Oettl, 2013. "Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science: Evidence from Evolutionary Biology," NBER Working Papers 19653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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