Stars and comets: an exploration of the patent universe
The analysis of patent and citation data has become a popular source of evidence on localized knowledge spillovers and innovation. Nevertheless, one aspect has been overlooked: the patent distribution across inventors is extremely skewed, as many inventors -- the comets -- register one or few patents, while a small number of inventors -- the stars -- register many patents. This raises a number of questions relating to the geography of innovation: do different categories of inventors interact with the local economic environment in the same way? Are they equally distributed over space or do they tend to concentrate? Is spatial proximity beneficial for their activity? Using a rich database on US inventors, we provide evidence suggesting that the two categories of patents are associated with different kinds of cities. We then test whether the activity of stars is beneficial for local comets, finding that a 10% increase in the number of patents authored by star inventors leads to a 3% increase in the number of patents developed by comet inventors.
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- Rachel Griffith & Sokbae Lee & John Van Reenen, 2008.
"Is distance dying at last?,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
4595, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Rachel Griffith & Sokbae Lee & John Van Reenen, 2008. "Is Distance Dying at Last?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 240, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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"What Happens When Firms Patent? New Evidence from U.S. Economic Census Data,"
08-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Natarajan Balasubramanian & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2011. "What Happens When Firms Patent? New Evidence from U.S. Economic Census Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 126-146, February.
- Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Determinants of Knowledge Flows and Their Effect on Innovation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 308-322, May.
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