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Innovation in Israel 1968-97: A Comparative Analysis Using Patent Data


  • Manuel Trajtenberg


The israeli high tech sector is widely regarded as a hotbed of cutting-edge technologies, and as the growth engine of the israeli economy in the nineties and beyond. In this paper we present a close-up portrait of innovation in Israel for the past 30 years, with the aid of highly detailed patent data. We use for that purpose all israeli patents taken in the US (over 7,000), as well as US patents and patents from other countries for comparative purposes. The time path of israeli patenting reveals big jumps in the mid eighties and then again in the early nineties, reflecting underlying shocks' in policy and in the availability of relevant inputs. Israeli ranks high in terms of patents per capita, compared to the G7, the Asian Tigers' and a group of countries with similar GDP per capita. Finland is strikingly similar, Taiwan's patenting has grown extremely fast and is now on par with Israel, South Korea is rapidly closing the gap. The technological composition of israeli innovations reflects quite well world-wide technological trends, except that Computers and Communications, the fastest growing field in the US, has grown even faster in Israel. The weak side resides in the composition of israeli assignees, the actual owners of the intellectual property rights: just 35% of israeli patents were assigned to israeli corporations, a much lower percentage than in most other countries. Relatively large shares went to foreign assignees, to Universities and the Government, and to private inventors. On the other hand israeli patents are of good quality' in terms of citations received (and getting better over time): US patents command on average more citations, but not in Computers and Communications or in Biotechnology, and Israeli patents are significantly better than those of the reference group of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Trajtenberg, 1999. "Innovation in Israel 1968-97: A Comparative Analysis Using Patent Data," NBER Working Papers 7022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7022
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    2. Rebecca Henderson & Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1998. "Universities As A Source Of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis Of University Patenting, 1965-1988," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 119-127, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Suma Athreye & Martha Prevezer, 2008. "R&D offshoring and the domestic science base in India and China," Working Papers 26, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    2. Altuntas, Serkan & Dereli, Turkay & Kusiak, Andrew, 2015. "Analysis of patent documents with weighted association rules," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 249-262.
    3. Dirk Czarnitzki & Katrin Hussinger & Cédric Schneider, 2011. "Commercializing academic research: the quality of faculty patenting," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(5), pages 1403-1437, October.
    4. Shih-Tse Lo, 2004. "Strenghtening Intellectual Property rights: Experience from the 1986 Taiwanese Patent Reforms," Working Papers 04004, Concordia University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • 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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