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Research, Patenting, and Technological Change

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  • Samuel S. Kortum

Abstract

This paper develops a search-theoretic model of technological change to explain why both patenting and the growth of productivity have remained roughly constant while research employment in the United States has increased by a factor of six over the past four decades. In the model, researchers sample from probability distributions determining the efficiency of potential new production techniques. Technological breakthroughs, resulting in patents, become increasingly hard to find as the level of technology advances. Given certain restrictions on the search distributions, the equilibrium of the model replicates the U.S. time-series pattern of research, patenting, and productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:65:y:1997:i:6:p:1389-1420
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    References listed on IDEAS

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