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Foreign Competition and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from U.S. Patents

Author

Listed:
  • David Autor
  • David Dorn
  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Gary Pisano
  • Pian Shu

Abstract

The competitive shock to the U.S. manufacturing sector spurred by rising China import competition could either catalyze or stifle innovation. Using three distinct sources of variation to identify rising trade exposure, we provide a causal analysis of the effect of surging import competition on U.S. innovative activities. Applying a novel internet-based matching algorithm to map all U.S. utility patents granted by 2013 to firm-level data, and carefully accounting for the shifting concentration of patenting activity across sectors, we document a robust, negative impact of rising Chinese competition on firm-level and technology class-level patent production. Accompanying this fall in innovation, global employment, sales, profitability, and R&D expenditure all decline within trade-exposed firms. The trade-induced contraction along all margins of adjustment and for all measures of valuation suggest that the primary response of firms to greater import competition is to scale back their global operations.

Suggested Citation

  • David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson & Gary Pisano & Pian Shu, 2016. "Foreign Competition and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from U.S. Patents," NBER Working Papers 22879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22879
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. International Monetary Fund [IMF], 2018. "World Economic Outlook, April 2018: Cyclical Upswing, Structural Change," Working Papers id:12768, eSocialSciences.
    2. Laura Alfaro & Alejandro Cuñat & Harald Fadinger & Yanping Liu, 2017. "The Real Exchange Rate, Innovation and Asymmetries and Hysteresis," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-044, Harvard Business School, revised May 2018.
    3. repec:eee:finana:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:37-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Teresa C. Fort & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2018. "New Perspectives on the Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Employment," Working Papers 18-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    5. Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Matthieu Lequien, Marc J. Melitz, 2018. "The Impact of Exports on Innovation: Theory and Evidence," Working papers 678, Banque de France.
    6. Epifani, Paolo & Gancia, Gino, 2017. "Global imbalances revisited: The transfer problem and transport costs in monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 99-116.
    7. Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2017. "Investment Responses to Trade Liberalization : Evidence from U.S. Industries and Establishments," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-120, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. repec:sls:ipmsls:v:32:y:2017:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ufuk Akcigit, 2017. "Innovation and Trade Policy in a Globalizing World," 2017 Meeting Papers 1627, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2017. "Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Uwe Cantner & Holger Graf & Ekaterina Prytkova & Simone Vannuccini, 2018. "The Compositional Nature of Productivity and Innovation Slowdown," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    12. YAMASHITA Nobuaki & YAMAUCHI Isamu, 2017. "Innovation Responses of Japanese Firms to Chinese Import Competition," Discussion papers 17126, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    13. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Ravasan, Farshad R, 2017. "Structural Change and the China Syndrome: Baumol vs Trade Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 12069, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Ufuk Akcigit & Sina T. Ates & Giammario Impullitti, 2018. "Innovation and Trade Policy in a Globalized World," Working Papers id:12756, eSocialSciences.
    15. repec:wfo:wstudy:59290 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:finmar:v:39:y:2018:i:c:p:44-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Dyballa, Katharina & Kraft, Kornelius, 2018. "Foreign Competition and Executive Compensation in the Manufacturing Industry: A Comparison between Germany and the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 11713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. repec:eee:jimfin:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:124-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2017. "Trade, technology, and prosperity: An account of evidence from a labor-market perspective," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-15, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    20. Alfaro, Laura & Cunat, Alejandro & Fadinger, Harald & Yanping, Liu, 2017. "The real exchange rate, innovation and productivity," Working Papers 17-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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