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Inventive Activities, Patents and Early Industrialisation: A Synthesis of Research Issues

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  • Christine MacLeod
  • Alessandro Nuvolari

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of recent research on the connection between patent systems and inventive activities in the early phases of industrialization. Perhaps surprisingly, no consensus has been reached yet as to whether the emergence of modern patent systems exerted a favourable impact on inventive activities. However, the recent literature has shed light on a number of important features concerning the functioning of patent systems and the nature of innovation processes in this period. The concluding section of the paper flags some promising directions for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine MacLeod & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2016. "Inventive Activities, Patents and Early Industrialisation: A Synthesis of Research Issues," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 77-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:mul:jrkmxm:doi:10.1410/83031:y:2016:i:1:p:77-108
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Qiang, 2008. "The effect of patent laws on invention rates: Evidence from cross-country panels," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 694-704, December.
    2. James E. Bessen, 2010. "Communicating Technical Knowledge," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000308, David K. Levine.
    3. Joel Mokyr, 2009. "Intellectual Property Rights, the Industrial Revolution, and the Beginnings of Modern Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 349-355, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Bjørn L. Basberg, 2015. "Amateur or professional? A new look at nineteenth-century patentees in Norway," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(1), pages 24-44, March.
    6. George Selgin & John L. Turner, 2011. "Strong Steam, Weak Patents, or the Myth of Watt's Innovation-Blocking Monopoly, Exploded," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 841-861.
    7. Boldrin Michele & Levine David K., 2009. "Does Intellectual Monopoly Help Innovation?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 991-1024, December.
    8. Julien Pénin, 2008. "More open than open innovation? Rethinking the concept of openness in innovation studies," Working Papers of BETA 2008-18, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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    Keywords

    Industrial Revolution; Patents; Innovation.;

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