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The Democratization of Invention During Early Industrialization: Evidence from the United States, 1790–1846

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  • Sokoloff, Kenneth L.
  • Khan, B. Zorina

Abstract

The skills and knowledge necessary for patentable invention during early American industrialization were widely dispersed among the general population. This endowment permitted a rather elastic supply of patentable ideas over the relevant range as the expansion of markets induced more individuals to invent and innovate.Although a broadening of the ranks of patentees was primarily responsible for the initial acceleration of patenting, the importance of patentees with greater long-term investments in inventive activity increased during later stages of development.

Suggested Citation

  • Sokoloff, Kenneth L. & Khan, B. Zorina, 1990. "The Democratization of Invention During Early Industrialization: Evidence from the United States, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 363-378, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:50:y:1990:i:02:p:363-378_03
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    Cited by:

    1. Weinhold, Diana & Nair-Reichert, Usha, 2009. "Innovation, Inequality and Intellectual Property Rights," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 889-901, May.
    2. B. Zorina Khan, 2014. "Inventing in the Shadow of the Patent System: Evidence from 19th-Century Patents and Prizes for Technological Innovations," NBER Working Papers 20731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:ssa:lemwps:2013/20 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Martin Neil Baily & Charles L. Schultze, 1990. "The Productivity of Capital in a Period of Slower Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1990 Micr), pages 369-420.
    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. Lorenzo Napolitano & Angelica Sbardella & Davide Consoli & Nicolo Barbieri & Francois Perruchas, 2020. "Green Innovation and Income Inequality: A Complex System Analysis," SPRU Working Paper Series 2020-11, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    7. B. Zorina Khan, 2015. "The Impact of War on Resource Allocation: 'Creative Destruction' and the American Civil War," NBER Working Papers 20944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Catherine Co, 2002. "Evolution of the Geography of Innovation: Evidence from Patent Data," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 393-423, September.
    9. Petra Moser, 2012. "Innovation without Patents: Evidence from World's Fairs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 43-74.
    10. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Independent invention in Italy during the Liberal Age, 1861–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 858-886, August.
    11. Schwerin, Joachim & Werker, Claudia, 2003. "Learning innovation policy based on historical experience," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 385-404, December.
    12. Bosetti, Valentina & Verdolini, Elena, 2013. "Clean and Dirty International Technology Diffusion," Economy and Society 150374, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    13. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1999. "Inventors, Firms, and the Market for Technology in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries," NBER Chapters, in: Learning by Doing in Markets, Firms, and Countries, pages 19-60, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Dario Diodato & Andrea Morrison & Sergio Petralia, 2018. "Migration and invention in the age of mass migration," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1835, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Oct 2018.
    15. David Greasley & Les Oxley, 2008. "Re-inventing New Zealand: Institutions Output and Patents 1870-1939," Working Papers in Economics 08/15, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2019. "Rents and economic development: the perspective of Why Nations Fail," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 181(1), pages 13-28, October.
    17. Acemoglu, Daron, 2008. "Oligarchikus és demokratikus társadalmak [Oligarchic versus democratic societies]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 622-659.
    18. Magee, Gary Bryan, 1999. "Technological Development and Foreign Patenting: Evidence from 19th-Century Australia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 344-359, October.
    19. Sarada, Sarada & Andrews, Michael J. & Ziebarth, Nicolas L., 2019. "Changes in the demographics of American inventors, 1870–1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    20. Patricio Sáiz & Rubén Amengual, 2018. "Do patents enable disclosure? Strategic innovation management of the four-stroke engine," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(6), pages 975-997.
    21. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2010. "Knowledge, natural resource abundance and economic development: Lessons from New Zealand 1861-1939," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 443-459, October.
    22. Iyigun, Murat, 2006. "Clusters of invention, life cycle of technologies and endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 687-719, April.

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