IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Democratization of Invention in the American South: Antebellum and Post Bellum Technology Markets in the United States


  • William H. Phillips

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)


Patenting expanded rapidly across the post bellum South as its transportation network filled in and city growth extended markets. This was consistent with Sokoloff and Khan (1990), who demonstrated the elastic supply of patentable ideas in early America. Successful innovation required that inventors could or did sell their property rights through "assignment" to those who commercialized new technology. The assignment characteristics of 1912 southern patents were examined. Southern "border" state patents had a higher rate of marketable assignments than those issued to residents in the Deep South. Greater commercialization of patents in border state cities accounted for most of this difference.

Suggested Citation

  • William H. Phillips, 2008. "The Democratization of Invention in the American South: Antebellum and Post Bellum Technology Markets in the United States," Working Papers 0804, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:0804

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cook, Lisa D., 2011. "Inventing social capital: Evidence from African American inventors, 1843–1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 507-518.
    2. Lamoreaux Naomi R. & Levenstein Margaret & Sokoloff Kenneth L., 2006. "Mobilizing Venture Capital during the Second Industrial Revolution: Cleveland, Ohio, 1870-1920," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 1(3), pages 1-64, December.
    3. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1999. "Inventive Activity and the Market for Technology in the United States, 1840-1920," NBER Working Papers 7107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    post-bellum South; invention; patents;

    JEL classification:

    • N71 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:0804. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Yang Wang). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.