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International trends in technological progress: stylized facts from patent citations, 1980-2011

Author

Listed:
  • Soonwoo Kwon

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Jihong Lee

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Sokbae Lee

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Columbia University and IFS)

Abstract

We analyze cross-country trends in technological progress over the period of 1980-2011 by examining citations data from almost 4 million utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Oce (USPTO). Our estimation results on patent quality and distance to the knowledge frontier reveal the following stylized facts. The emerging Asian economies of Korea, Taiwan and China have indeed achieved substantial catch-up towards the technology frontier. In the case of Korea and Taiwan, progress has been made in terms of patent quality as well as distance to the frontier. Chinese patents are of higher quality now than before but Chinese inventors have yet to reduce the citation lag relative to the frontier. In contrast, advanced economies of Europe and Japan have displayed steady decline in their patent quality. Finally, the US has maintained, and in some cases strengthened, its position as the world technology frontier.

Suggested Citation

  • Soonwoo Kwon & Jihong Lee & Sokbae Lee, 2014. "International trends in technological progress: stylized facts from patent citations, 1980-2011," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/14, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:16/14
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    File URL: http://www.cemmap.ac.uk/wps/cwp161414.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benjamin F. Jones, 2009. "The Burden of Knowledge and the "Death of the Renaissance Man": Is Innovation Getting Harder?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 283-317.
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    4. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hu, Albert G. Z. & Jaffe, Adam B., 2003. "Patent citations and international knowledge flow: the cases of Korea and Taiwan," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 849-880, June.
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    11. Lee,Keun, 2013. "Schumpeterian Analysis of Economic Catch-up," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107042681, May.
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    13. Peter Thompson & Melanie Fox-Kean, 2005. "Patent Citations and the Geography of Knowledge Spillovers: A Reassessment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 465-466, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2015. "Measuring patent quality in international comparison: Index development and application to China," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-051, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2016. "Measuring patent quality and national technological capacity in cross-country comparison," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-048, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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