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Getting Patents & Economic Data to Speak to Each Other: An ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ Approach for Joint Analyses of Patenting & Economic Activity

  • Travis J. Lybbert

    (Department Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of California, Davis)

  • Nikolas J. Zolas

    (Center for Economic Studies, United States Census Bureau)

International technological diffusion is a key determinant of cross-country differences in economic performance. While patents can be a useful proxy for innovation and technological change and diffusion, fully exploiting patent data for such economic analyses requires patents to be tied to measures of economic activity. In this paper, we describe and explore a new algorithmic approach to constructing concordances between the International Patent Classification (IPC) system that organizes patents by technical features and industry classification systems that organize economic data, such as the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) and the Harmonized System (HS). This ‘Algorithmic Links with Probabilities’ (ALP) approach incorporates text analysis software and keyword extraction programs and applies them to a comprehensive patent dataset. We compare the results of several ALP concordances to existing technology concordances. Based on these comparisons, we select a preferred ALP approach and discuss advantages of this approach relative to conventional approaches. We conclude with a discussion on some of the possible applications of the concordance and provide a sample analysis that uses our preferred ALP concordance to analyze international patent flows based on trade patterns.

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Paper provided by World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division in its series WIPO Economic Research Working Papers with number 05.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision: Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:wip:wpaper:05
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  1. Harhoff, Dietmar & Hoisl, Karin & Reichl, Bettina & van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno, 2009. "Patent validation at the country level--The role of fees and translation costs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1423-1437, November.
  2. Comanor, William S & Scherer, Frederic M, 1969. "Patent Statistics as a Measure of Technical Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 392-98, May/June.
  3. Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel & Henderson, Rebecca, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-98, August.
  4. David E. Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization And The Gains From Variety," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 327, Econometric Society.
  5. Eaton, J. & Kortum, S., 1995. "Trade in Ideas: Patenting and Productivity onn the OECD," Papers 34, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  6. Michael E. Porter & Scott Stern, 2000. "Measuring the "Ideas" Production Function: Evidence from International Patent Output," NBER Working Papers 7891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rod Falvey & Neil Foster & David Greenaway, 2006. "Intellectual Property Rights and Economic Growth," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 700-719, November.
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