Innovation and technological change, long recognized as the main drivers of long-term economic growth, are elusive notions that are difficult to conceptualize and even harder to measure in a consistent, systematic way. This book demonstrates the usefulness of patents and citations data as a window on the process of technological change and as a powerful tool for research on the economics of innovation. Patent records contain a wealth of information, including the inventors' identity, location, and employer, as well as the technological field of the invention. Patents also contain citation references to previous patents, which allow one to trace links across inventions.
The book lays out the conceptual foundations for such research and provides a range of interesting applications, such as examining the geographic pattern of knowledge spillovers and evaluating the impact of university and government patenting. It also describes statistical tools designed to handle methodological problems raised by the patent and citation processes. The book includes a CD with complete data on 3 million patents with more than 16 million citations and a range of author-devised measures of the importance, generality, and originality of patented innovations.
About the Authors
Adam B. Jaffe is Fred C. Hecht Professor in Economics and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University.
Manuel Trajtenberg is Chair of the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at Tel Aviv University, Research Associate of the NBER, Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research in London, and Research Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research.
"A useful book full of careful measurement of the incentives, institutions, and causal flows in the knowledge economy. Shows both the importance of the knowledge economy (now denied by fools on Wall Street) and how sound economic analysis applies to it (recently denied by the same fools.)"
—Timothy F. Bresnahan, Professor of Economics, Stanford University
"Knowledge, which is hard to measure, is the core of modern economic growth. Jaffe and Trajtenberg have assembled the most comprehensive data set on patent citations, which allows them to trace major channels of knowledge creation. This outstanding book, which describes these data and puts them to good use, is a landmark in research on innovation and economic growth."
—Elhanan Helpman, Department of Economics, Harvard University, and The Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University