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Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790 - 1846

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  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff

Abstract

A sample of patent records from the United States between 1790 and 1846 is employed to study the patterns in inventive activity. Patenting was pro-cyclical, and yet began to grow rapidly with the interruptions in foreign trade that preceded the War of 1812. A strong association between patenting and proximity to navigable waterways is also demonstrated. Although the importance of specific mechanisms remains unclear, both the temporal and cross-sectional evidence imply that inventive activity was positively related to the growth of markets during early industrialization.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790 - 1846," NBER Working Papers 2707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2707
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