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China as number one? Evidence from China's most recent patenting surge

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  • Hu, Albert G.Z.
  • Zhang, Peng
  • Zhao, Lijing

Abstract

China overtook the U.S. in 2011 to become the country filing the largest number of patent applications. Has China's patenting ascendancy been propelled by Chinese firms’ increasing technological sophistication or their much greater propensity to seek patents? Using a unique and never before used data set, where the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) patent records have been matched to their applicant firms by SIPO, we differentiate the two potential explanations by estimating a patent production function and by relating a firm's patents in force to its labor productivity. Our main findings are: 1) while the patenting surge has been an across-the-board phenomenon, most of the growth has come from the extensive margin of growth – firms that were not actively applying for patents in the past; 2) the correlation between patents and R&D and that between patents and labor productivity have become weaker, particularly for utility models and for the extensive margin of growth. These results suggest that non-innovation related motives for acquiring patents may have played an important role in the patenting surge.

Suggested Citation

  • Hu, Albert G.Z. & Zhang, Peng & Zhao, Lijing, 2017. "China as number one? Evidence from China's most recent patenting surge," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 107-119.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:124:y:2017:i:c:p:107-119
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.09.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fujii, Hidemichi & Managi, Shunsuke, 2018. "Trends and priority shifts in artificial intelligence technology invention: A global patent analysis," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 60-69.
    2. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:9:p:1533-1551 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Clément Bonnet & Samuel Carcanague & Emmanuel Hache & Gondia Sokhna Seck & Marine Simoën, 2018. "The nexus between climate negotiations and low-carbon innovation: a geopolitics of renewable energy patents," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-45, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    4. repec:eee:tefoso:v:139:y:2019:i:c:p:10-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rong, Zhao & Wu, Xiaokai & Boeing, Philipp, 2017. "The effect of institutional ownership on firm innovation: Evidence from Chinese listed firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1533-1551.
    6. Fujii, Hidemichi & Managi, Shunsuke, 2019. "Decomposition analysis of sustainable green technology inventions in China," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 10-16.
    7. repec:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:2:p:470-486 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Böing, Philipp & Müller, Elisabeth, 2019. "Measuring China's patent quality: Development and validation of ISR indices," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-017, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. repec:eee:proeco:v:199:y:2018:i:c:p:107-124 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Patents; Technology innovation; Intellectual property rights; Economic development; China;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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