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Productivity and Propensity: The Two Faces of the R&D-Patent Relationship

  • Gaétan de Rassenfosse

This paper tackles one of the most persistent criticism of patent statistics. Because not all inventions are patented, the patent-to-R&D ratio reflects both a productivity effect (the number of inventions created per unit of research input) and a propensity effect (the proportion of inventions patented). We propose a solution to this identification problem. Our methodology uses information on the density of patent value and leads to results that are easy to interpret. It is applied to a novel data set of priority patent applications in which each patent is fractionally allocated to its inventors’ countries and to the technological areas to which it belongs. Interestingly, it is frequently observed that an industry may exhibit a low number of patents per unit of R&D in one country yet actually be more productive than the same industry in another country where the patentto-R&D ratio is higher.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/59648/1/2010-025-DERASSENFOSSE-productivity.pdf
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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers ECARES with number ECARES 2010-025.

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Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/59648
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Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be
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  1. Gaétan de Rassenfosse & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2007. "Per un pugno di dollari: A first look at the price elasticity of patents," Working Papers CEB 07-022.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "The puzzle of patent value indicators," Working Papers CEB 07-023.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Bruno Van Pottelsberghe & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007. "A brief history of space and time: the scope-year index as a patent value indicator based on families and renewals," Working Papers CEB 07-019.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2008. "A Policy Insight into the R&D-Patent Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 6716, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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