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Technological and geographical knowledge spillover in the German empire 1877-1918

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  • JOCHEN STREB
  • JÖRG BATEN
  • SHUXI YIN

Abstract

We use a newly developed data set of 39,343 high-value patents granted between 1877 and 1918 to demonstrate that technological progress during German industrialization occurred in at least four different technological waves. We distinguish the railway wave (1877-86), the dye wave (1887-96), the chemical wave (1897-1902), and the wave of electrical engineering (1903-18). Evidence is presented that inter-industry knowledge spillovers between technologically, economically, and geographically related industries were a major source for innovative activities during German industrialization. We also show that technological change affected the geographical distribution of innovative regions. Using an index of technologically revealed comparative advantage we find that regions that increased their innovativeness during the waves of technological progress revealed special strength in technological clusters like electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or chemicals. Copyright Economic History Society 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Jochen Streb & Jörg Baten & Shuxi Yin, 2006. "Technological and geographical knowledge spillover in the German empire 1877-1918," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-373, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:59:y:2006:i:2:p:347-373
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    1. Ewout Frankema & Jeffrey Williamson & Pieter Woltjer, 2015. "An Economic Rationale for the African Scramble: The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1845-1885," NBER Working Papers 21213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Makiko Hino & Mototsugu Fukushige, 2014. "Catching up and falling behind in technological progress: the experience of the textile and chemical industries in Italy between 1904 and 1937," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-14, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    2. repec:ssa:lemwps:2013/20 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lichter, Andreas & Loeffler, Max & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2015. "The Economic Costs of Mass Surveillance: Insights from Stasi Spying in East Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 9245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Richter, Ralf & Streb, Jochen, 2011. "Catching-Up and Falling Behind: Knowledge Spillover from American to German Machine Toolmakers," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 1006-1031, December.
    5. Saiz, Patricio & Amengual, Rafael, 2016. "Knowledge Disclosure, Patent Management, and the Four-Stroke Engine Business," Working Papers in Economic History 2016/02, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    6. Degner, Harald, 2010. "Windows of technological opportunity: do technological booms influence the relationship between firm size and innovativeness?," FZID Discussion Papers 15-2010, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    7. Matthew Gibbons & Les Oxley, 2017. "The Relationship of Patenting Applications and Expenditure with Output and Real GDP in Nineteenth Century Colonial New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 17/05, University of Waikato.
    8. Matthew Gibbons & Les Oxley, 2017. "New Perspectives on Patenting Activity in New Zealand 1860-1899," Working Papers in Economics 17/04, University of Waikato.
    9. Sibylle Lehmann-Hasemeyer & Jochen Streb, 2016. "The Berlin Stock Exchange in Imperial Germany: A Market for New Technology?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3558-3576, November.
    10. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2013. "The Link Between Fundamentals and Proximate Factors in Development," NBER Working Papers 18808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Dietmar Harhoff, 2008. "Innovation, Entrepreneurship und Demographie," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(3), pages 46-72, August.
    12. Lehmann, Sibylle & Streb, Jochen, 2015. "The Berlin Stock Exchange in Imperial Germany – a Market for New Technology?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Burhop, Carsten & Lübbers, Thorsten, 2010. "Incentives and innovation? R&D management in Germany's chemical and electrical engineering industries around 1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 100-111, January.
    14. repec:kap:jecgro:v:22:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9141-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Kirsten Labuske & Jochen Streb, 2008. "Technological Creativity and Cheap Labour? Explaining the Growing International Competitiveness of German Mechanical Engineering before World War I," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 65-86, February.
    16. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle & Streb, Jochen, 2017. "Does Social Security crowd out Private Savings? The Case of Bismarck’s System of Social Insurance," IBF Paper Series 06-17, IBF – Institut für Bank- und Finanzgeschichte / Institute for Banking and Financial History, Frankfurt am Main.
    17. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2013. "The Role of Human Capital and Innovation in Prussian Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 4391, CESifo Group Munich.

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