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Selection bias in innovation studies: A simple test

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  • de Rassenfosse, Gaétan
  • Schoen, Anja
  • Wastyn, Annelies

Abstract

The study of the innovative output of organizations often relies on a count of patents filed at one single office of reference such as the European Patent Office (EPO). Yet, not all organizations file their patents at the EPO, raising the specter of a selection bias. Using novel datasets of the whole population of patents by Belgian firms and German universities, we show that the single-office count results in a selection bias that affects econometric estimates of invention production functions. We propose an easy-to-implement methodology to evaluate whether estimates that rely on the single-office count are affected by a selection bias.

Suggested Citation

  • de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & Schoen, Anja & Wastyn, Annelies, 2014. "Selection bias in innovation studies: A simple test," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 287-299.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:81:y:2014:i:c:p:287-299
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.02.012
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    1. repec:spr:scient:v:101:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1400-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & Dernis, Hélène & Guellec, Dominique & Picci, Lucio & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2013. "The worldwide count of priority patents: A new indicator of inventive activity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 720-737.
    3. Jérôme Danguy & Gaetan de Rassenfosse & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2014. "On the origins of the worldwide surge in patenting: an industry perspective on the R&D–patent relationship," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 535-572.
    4. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:32:y:2018:i:1:p:41-63. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2016. "Measuring patent quality in cross-country comparison," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 145-147.
    6. Zwick, Thomas & Frosch, Katharina & Hoisl, Karin & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2017. "The power of individual-level drivers of inventive performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 121-137.
    7. Ernest Miguélez, 2018. "Inventor Diasporas and the Internationalization of Technology," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 41-63.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Knowledge production function; Patent count; R&D; Selection bias;

    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
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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