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Bennet Woodcroft and the value of English patents, 1617-1841

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  • Nuvolari, Alessandro
  • Tartari, Valentina

Abstract

We examine the potentialities of a new indicator measuring the value of English patents in the period 1617-1841. The indicator is based on the relative visibility of each individual patent in the contemporary technical and legal literature as summarized in Bennet Woodcroft's Reference Index of Patents of Invention. We conclude that the indicator provides a reasonable proxy for the value of patents and that it can be usefully employed to shed light on the timing and scope of innovation during the Industrial Revolution. In particular, our indicator offers a suitable reconciliation between the patent records evidence and the Crafts-Harley view of the Industrial Revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuvolari, Alessandro & Tartari, Valentina, 2011. "Bennet Woodcroft and the value of English patents, 1617-1841," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 97-115, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:97-115
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    1. Alessandro Nuvolari, 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 347-363, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    2. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700–1852," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 48-63.
    3. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1852," IAST Working Papers 14-07, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    4. Stephan Heblich & Alex Trew, 2015. "Banking and Industrialization," CESifo Working Paper Series 5503, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. 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.
    6. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2016. "Knowledge Elites and Modernization: Evidence from Revolutionary France," NBER Working Papers 22779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Walker Hanlon & Antonio Miscio, 2014. "Agglomeration: A Dynamic Approach," NBER Working Papers 20728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
    10. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Patents Invention Industrial Revolution England;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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