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Getting Patents and Economic Data to Speak to Each Other: An 'Algorithmic Links with Probabilities' Approach for Joint Analyses of Patenting and Economic Activity

  • Travis J. Lybbert
  • Nikolas J. Zolas

International technological diffusion is a key determinant of cross-country differences in economic performance. While patents can be a useful proxy for innovation and technological change and diffusion, fully exploiting patent data for such economic analyses requires patents to be tied to measures of economic activity. In this paper, we describe and explore a new algorithmic approach to constructing concordances between the International Patent Classification (IPC) system that organizes patents by technical features and industry classification systems that organize economic data, such as the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) and the Harmonized System (HS). This ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ (ALP) approach incorporates text analysis software and keyword extraction programs and applies them to a comprehensive patent dataset. We compare the results of several ALP concordances to existing technology concordances. Based on these comparisons, we select a preferred ALP approach and discuss advantages of this approach relative to conventional approaches. We conclude with a discussion on some of the possible applications of the concordance and provide a sample analysis that uses our preferred ALP concordance to analyze international patent flows based on trade patterns.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2012/CES-WP-12-16.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 12-16.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:12-16
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