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Patents, exhibitions and markets for innovation in the early twentieth century: Evidence from Turin 1911 International Exhibition

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  • Domini, Giacomo

    () (UNU-MERIT, and University of Siena)

Abstract

This work contributes to the recent literature on international exhibitions, and on the use of data from these events as a proxy for innovation in economic history. In particular, it investigates the nature of international exhibitions, the role they played in the early twentieth century, the reasons why economic agents attended them, the relationship between exhibition data and patent data, and their suitability for measuring innovation. To do so, it makes an in-depth analysis of the International Exhibition held in Turin in 1911, and it matches a new database, built from the catalogue of this event, with data about patents granted in Italy. It is found that exhibiting and patenting did mostly occur separately, as exhibitions mainly worked as markets for products, which attracted firms, while patents were primarily taken out by individuals, most of whom might not be interested in that function. Yet, the presence is observed of a qualified niche of independent inventors, using the exhibition as a market for ideas, i.e. to advertise their findings to a selected public of potential investors, buyers or licensees.

Suggested Citation

  • Domini, Giacomo, 2016. "Patents, exhibitions and markets for innovation in the early twentieth century: Evidence from Turin 1911 International Exhibition," MERIT Working Papers 2016-061, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2016061
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2016/wp2016-061.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    patents; inventions; international exhibitions; markets for innovation; Italy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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