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What Inspires Leisure Time Invention?

  • Davis, Lee N.
  • Davis, Jerome
  • Hoisl, Karin
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    This paper seeks to understand the intriguing but only sparsely explored phenomenon of “leisure time invention,” where the main underlying idea for the new product or process occurs when the inventor is away from the workplace. We add to previous research by focussing on the inventive creativity of the individual researcher, and reassessing the image of researchers inventing during unpaid time – who have often been dispatched as “hobbyists”. Based on the responses from a survey of over 3,000 German inventors, we tested hypotheses on the conditions under which leisure time invention is likely to arise. Results suggest that the incidence of leisure time invention is positively related to exposure to a variety of knowledge inputs – but, surprisingly, not to the quality of prior inventive output. Leisure time inventions are more frequently observed in conceptual-based technologies than in science-based technologies, in smaller R&D projects, and in externally financed R&D projects.

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    File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/10457/1/DDH_leisure_time_WP_LMU.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Munich, Munich School of Management in its series Discussion Papers in Business Administration with number 10457.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:lmu:msmdpa:10457
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    1. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
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    7. Thomas Astebro, 2003. "The Return to Independent Invention: Evidence of Unrealistic Optimism, Risk Seeking or Skewness Loving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 226-239, January.
    8. Dahlin, Kristina & Taylor, Margaret & Fichman, Mark, 2004. "Today's Edisons or weekend hobbyists: technical merit and success of inventions by independent inventors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1167-1183, October.
    9. Gambardella, Alfonso & Harhoff, Dietmar & Verspagen, Bart, 2008. "The Value of European Patents," CEPR Discussion Papers 6848, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Ted Tschang, F. & Szczypula, Janusz, 2006. "Idea Creation, Constructivism and Evolution as Key Characteristics in the Videogame Artifact Design Process," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 270-287, August.
    11. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
    12. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    13. Hoisl, Karin, 2007. "Tracing mobile inventors--The causality between inventor mobility and inventor productivity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 619-636, June.
    14. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Economics of Invention: A Survey of the Literature," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32, pages 101.
    15. Zvi Griliches, 1970. "Notes on the Role of Education in Production Functions and Growth Accounting," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Income, and Human Capital, pages 71-128 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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