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A Model of Research, Patenting, and Productivity Growth

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  • Samuel Kortum

Abstract

I use the aggregate behavior of three indicators of technology (employ- ment of research scientists and engineers, patented inventions, and total fac- tor productivity) to identify a plausible model of endogenous technological change. In the US (as well as in other developed countries) research em- ployment and total factor productivity have both grown, while the rate of patenting has remained relatively flat. One interpretation of these facts is that: (i) patentable inventions are becoming increasingly difficult to discover as the quality of techniques in use increases, (ii) inventions which are patented represent percentage improvements on techniques currently in use, and (iii) the size of the economy is growing, making patents increasingly valuable and justifying increased research efforts devoted to discovering them. This pa- per presents a general equilibrium search theoretic model of invention which formalizes this view.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Kortum, 1994. "A Model of Research, Patenting, and Productivity Growth," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 37, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:bosecd:37
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    Cited by:

    1. Klein, Michael W. & Marion, Nancy P., 1997. "Explaining the duration of exchange-rate pegs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 387-404, December.
    2. Claudio Michelacci, 2003. "Low Returns in R&D Due to the Lack of Entrepreneurial Skills," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 207-225, January.
    3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 1994. "International Patenting and Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 4931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michelacci, Claudio, 2002. "Low Returns in R&D Due to Lack of Entrepreneurial Skills," CEPR Discussion Papers 3179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Aurora Teixeira & Natércia Fortuna, 2003. "Human Capital, Innovation Capability and Economic Growth," FEP Working Papers 131, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    6. Aurora A. C. Teixeira, 2004. "How Has the Portuguese Innovation Capability Evolved? Estimating a Time Series of the Stock of Technological Knowledge, 1960-2001," FEP Working Papers 153, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Daniel Johnson, 2002. ""Learning-by-Licensing": R&D and Technology Licensing in Brazilian Invention," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 163-177.

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