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Location and Technological Change in the American Glass Industry During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Author

Listed:
  • Naomi R. Lamoreaux
  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff

Abstract

Scholars have attempted to explain geographic clustering in inventive activity by arguing that it is connected with clustering in production or new investment. They have offered three possible reasons for this link: because invention occurs as a result of learning by doing; because new investment encourages experimentation with novel techniques; and because there are local information flows that make inventors more fertile in areas where producers are concentrated. In this article we test these theories by studying geographic patterns of production and invention in the glass industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We find that the patterns deviate significantly from what the theories would predict, and offer the alternative hypothesis that inventive activity proceeded most intensively in areas where markets for technology had developed most fully that is, where there were localized networks of institutions that mobilized information about technological opportunities and mediated relations among inventors, suppliers of capital, and those who would commercially develop or exploit new technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1997. "Location and Technological Change in the American Glass Industry During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries," NBER Working Papers 5938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5938
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5938.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 813-850, December.
    2. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alwyn Young, 1991. "Learning by Doing and the Dynamic Effects of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 369-405.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maryann Feldman, 1999. "The New Economics Of Innovation, Spillovers And Agglomeration: Areview Of Empirical Studies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 5-25.
    2. Myriam Mariani, 2002. "Next to Production or to Technological Clusters? The Economics and Management of R&D Location," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 6(2), pages 131-152, May.
    3. Catherine Beaudry & Stefano Breschi, 2000. "Does 'Clustering' really help firms'innovative activities?," KITeS Working Papers 111, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2000.
    4. Ufuk Akcigit & Murat Alp Celik & Jeremy Greenwood, 2016. "Buy, Keep, or Sell: Economic Growth and the Market for Ideas," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 943-984, May.
    5. Marie Ferru, 2010. "Formation and geography of science-industry collaborations: the case of the University of Poitiers," Post-Print hal-00461262, HAL.
    6. Alessandro Nuvolari, 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 347-363, May.
    7. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2005. "The Globalization of the Software Industry: Perspectives and Opportunities for Developed and Developing Countries," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:spr:scient:v:97:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-013-1069-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fosfuri, Andrea & Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1999. "Markets for technology (why do we see them, why don't we see more of them and why we should care)," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB 6520, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    10. repec:hal:journl:hal-00424183 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Beaudry, Catherine & Allaoui, Sedki, 2012. "Impact of public and private research funding on scientific production: The case of nanotechnology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1589-1606.
    12. Pattit, Jason M. & Raj, S.P. & Wilemon, David, 2012. "An institutional theory investigation of U.S. technology development trends since the mid-19th century," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 306-318.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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