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What explains the quantity and quality of local inventive activity?

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  • Gerald A. Carlino
  • Robert M. Hunt

Abstract

The authors geocode a data set of patents and their citation counts, including citations from abroad. This allows them to examine both the quantity and quality of local inventions. They also refine their data on local academic R&D to explore effects from different fields of science and sources of R&D funding. Finally, they incorporate data on congressional earmarks of funds for academic R&D. ; With one important exception, results using citation-weighted patents are similar to those using unweighted patents. For example, estimates of the returns to density (jobs per square mile) are only slightly changed when using citation-weighted patents as the dependent variable. But estimates of returns to city size (urbanization effects) are quite sensitive to the choice of dependent variable. ; Local human capital is the most important determinant of per capita rates of patenting. A 1 percent increase in the adult population with a college degree increases the local patenting rate by about 1 percent. ; With few exceptions, there is little variation across fields of science in the contribution of academic R&D to patenting rates. The exceptions are computer and life sciences, where the effects are smaller. There is greater variation in the contribution of R&D funded by different sources-academic R&D funded by the federal government generates smaller increases in patenting rates than R&D funded by the university itself. This effect is somewhat stronger for federally funded applied R&D than for basic R&D. The authors also find small negative effects for cities with greater exposure to academic R&D allocated by congressional earmarks. ; They discuss the implications of these results for policy and future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerald A. Carlino & Robert M. Hunt, 2009. "What explains the quantity and quality of local inventive activity?," Working Papers 09-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:09-12
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    Cited by:

    1. Nivedita Mukherji & Jonathan Silberman, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity, Knowledge Flows, And Innovation In U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 392-417, August.
    2. Carlino, Gerald A. & Carr, Jake & Hunt, Robert M. & Smith, Tony E., 2010. "The agglomeration of R&D labs," Working Papers 10-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. Shahid Yusuf, 2012. "From Technological Catch-up to Innovation : The Future of China’s GDP Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12781, The World Bank.
    4. Carlino, Gerald & Kerr, William R., 2015. "Agglomeration and Innovation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Raj Nallari & Breda Griffith & Shahid Yusuf, 2012. "Geography of Growth : Spatial Economics and Competitiveness," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6020, April.
    6. Laura Crispin & Subhra B. Saha & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2010. "Innovation spillovers in industrial cities," Working Paper 1025, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    7. repec:bof:bofrdp:urn:nbn:fi:bof-201512111472 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Riccardo Crescenzi & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2013. "R&D, Socio-Economic Conditions, and Regional Innovation in the U.S," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 287-320, June.

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    Labor market ; Patents;

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