nep-ino New Economics Papers
on Innovation
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
nine papers chosen by
Uwe Cantner
University of Jena

  1. Regional patterns of unrelated technological diversification: the role of academic inventors. By Quatraro, Francesco; Scandura, Alessandra
  2. Innovation in the U.S. Government By Joshua R. Bruce; John M. de Figueiredo
  3. Innovation Activities in Prewar Japan: Patent Bibliographic Information Database (Japanese) By INOUE Hiroyasu; OKAZAKI Tetsuji; SAITO Yukiko; NAKAJIMA Kentaro
  4. Strengthening science, technology, and innovation-based incubators to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons from India By Kavita Surana; Anuraag Singh; Ambuj D Sagar
  5. Financial Distancing: How Venture Capital Follows the Economy Down and Curtails Innovation By Sabrina T. Howell; Josh Lerner; Ramana Nanda; Richard R. Townsend
  6. Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Energy Sector By David Popp; Jacquelyn Pless; Ivan Haščič; Nick Johnstone
  7. Non-practicing entities and transparency in patent ownership in Europe By Valerio Sterzi; Jean-Paul Rameshkoumar; Johannes Van Der Pol
  8. Immigration, Innovation, and Growth By Burchardi, Konrad B.; Chaney, Thomas; Hassan, Tarek Alexander; Tarquinio, Lisa; Terry, Stephen
  9. A Semiparametric Analysis of Green Inventions and Environmental Policies By Massimiliano Mazzanti; Antonio Musolesi

  1. By: Quatraro, Francesco; Scandura, Alessandra (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between the involvement of academic inventors in local innovation dynamics and the patterns of regional technological diversification. Based on the combination of the evolutionary economic approach and the theories on regional innovation capabilities, and on the distinctive features of academic inventors, we hypothesise that knowledge spillovers accruing from the participation of university scientists to local patenting activity influence the extent of regional technological diversification. In addition, we posit that the involvement of academic inventors mitigates the path dependency engendered by the constraining role of the existing capabilities. The empirical results highlight the key role of academic institutions for the development of regional technological trajectories while contributing to the academic and policy debate on regional diversification strategies.
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: Joshua R. Bruce; John M. de Figueiredo
    Abstract: This paper examines the U.S. government’s intramural research and development efforts over a 40-year period, drawing together multiple human capital, government spending, and patent datasets. The U.S. Federal Government innovates along four dimensions: technological, organizational, regulatory, and policy. After discussing these dimensions, the paper focuses on the inputs to and outputs of government intramural technological innovation. We measure innovative effort and results by accounting for the government scientists and dollars committed to R&D and patents created with government involvement. Overall, we show that intramural innovations, measured by government-assigned patents, are slightly more original and general, but less cited, than patents awarded to private-sector companies and extramural organizations patenting in the same technology classes. The majority of the 200,000 federal government scientists work at the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and NASA, and are largely in physical science and engineering occupations; the scientific expertise of other agencies is heavily weighted toward mathematics, social sciences, and data analytics. As these latter disciplines’ innovative outputs are less readily catalogued with patents, measuring total government innovative output with government-assigned patents is likely to over-emphasize innovations in engineering and physical sciences while under-reporting intramural innovations in other disciplines. We discuss the implications of our findings for both public- and private-sector innovation efforts and pose questions for future research.
    JEL: H41 H54 K0 O31 O34
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: INOUE Hiroyasu; OKAZAKI Tetsuji; SAITO Yukiko; NAKAJIMA Kentaro
    Abstract: Using patent information to understand the role of innovation in the process of industrialization in Japan, we examined paper documents and constructed a patent bibliographic information database from 1910 to 1945, which mainly consists of the prewar period. In this paper, we report the database construction method and the descriptive analysis using the database, especially from the viewpoint of the geographical distribution and collaboration pattern of innovation activities. We find the following results. First, patent applications are already concentrated in metropolitan areas, especially in Tokyo, from 1910. Second, patents categorized to technology class with higher technology tend to be more concentrated. While the number of collaborating patents are smaller compared to current numbers in 2020, the average number of collaborators increased from 1.1 to 1.5 during this period. The average number of collaborators for patents filed by foreigners is also lager and also increased during this period.
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Kavita Surana; Anuraag Singh; Ambuj D Sagar
    Abstract: Policymakers in developing countries increasingly see science, technology, and innovation (STI) as an avenue for meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs), with STI-based startups as a key part of these efforts. Market failures call for government interventions in supporting STI for SDGs and publicly-funded incubators can potentially fulfil this role. Using the specific case of India, we examine how publicly-funded incubators could contribute to strengthening STI-based entrepreneurship. India's STI policy and its links to societal goals span multiple decades -- but since 2015 these goals became formally organized around the SDGs. We examine why STI-based incubators were created under different policy priorities before 2015, the role of public agencies in implementing these policies, and how some incubators were particularly effective in addressing the societal challenges that can now be mapped to SDGs. We find that effective incubation for supporting STI-based entrepreneurship to meet societal goals extended beyond traditional incubation activities. For STI-based incubators to be effective, policymakers must strengthen the 'incubation system'. This involves incorporating targeted SDGs in specific incubator goals, promoting coordination between existing incubator programs, developing a performance monitoring system, and finally, extending extensive capacity building at multiple levels including for incubator managers and for broader STI in the country.
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Sabrina T. Howell; Josh Lerner; Ramana Nanda; Richard R. Townsend
    Abstract: Although late-stage venture capital (VC) activity did not change dramatically in the first two months after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., early-stage VC activity declined by 38%. The particular sensitivity of early-stage VC investment to market conditions—which we show to be common across recessions spanning four decades from 1976 to 2017—raises questions about the pro-cyclicality of VC and its implications for innovation, especially in light of the common narrative that VC is relatively insulated from public markets. We find that the implications for innovation are not benign: innovation conducted by VC-backed firms in recessions is less highly cited, less original, less general, and less closely related to fundamental science. These effects are more pronounced for startups financed by early-stage venture funds. Given the important role that VC plays in financing breakthrough innovations in the economy, our findings have implications for the broader discussion on the nature of innovation across business cycles
    JEL: G24 O31
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: David Popp; Jacquelyn Pless; Ivan Haščič; Nick Johnstone
    Abstract: Historically, innovation in the energy sector proceeded slowly and entrepreneurial start-up firms played a relatively minor role. We argue that this may be changing. Energy markets are going through a period of profound structural change. The rise of hydrofracturing lowered fossil fuel prices so much that natural gas is now the primary fuel for electricity generation in the US. Renewable energy technologies also experienced significant cost and performance improvements. However, integrating intermittent resources creates additional grid management challenges, requiring further innovation. This chapter documents the evolving roles of innovation and entrepreneurship in the energy sector. First, we provide an overview of the energy industry, highlighting that many new energy technologies are smaller, modular, and increasingly rely on innovation in other fast-moving high-tech sectors. We then conduct two descriptive data analyses that document a sharp decline in both clean energy patenting and start-up activity from about 2010 onwards. We discuss potential explanations and provide some evidence that while innovation in existing technologies may simply have been successful, continued innovation will be needed in enabling technologies that are more likely to depend on progress in other sectors.
    JEL: O31 Q4 Q42 Q55
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Valerio Sterzi; Jean-Paul Rameshkoumar; Johannes Van Der Pol
    Abstract: Non-practising entities (NPEs) file or buy patents from a variety of sources and employ them primarily to obtain license fees by asserting them against accused infringers, without any intention of using the invention they protect. This report gives unique insight into how NPEs game Europe’s patent system for profit. The report also provides further evidence that the problem of NPEs is migrating to Europe from the US, and it proposes policy responses to increase patent ownership transparency. The report is largely based on forensic original research into two cases. These cases point to a serious lack of transparency in patent and corporate ownership. They demonstrate how shell or dormant companies, often of unknown ownership and commonly established in the UK, are used to acquire European patents, and how these companies exploit those patents in courts in the European Union – especially Germany. The report also shows that due to the lack of transparency of patent ownership, the problem of NPEs gaming the system is almost certainly far worse than the report states.
    Keywords: Non-practicing entities; Patent trolls; Patent litigation; Patent ownership transparency
    JEL: O31 O34 D23
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Burchardi, Konrad B.; Chaney, Thomas; Hassan, Tarek Alexander; Tarquinio, Lisa; Terry, Stephen
    Abstract: We show a causal impact of immigration on innovation and dynamism in US counties. To identify the causal impact of immigration, we use 130 years of detailed data on migrations from foreign countries to US counties to isolate quasi-random variation in the ancestry composition of US counties that results purely from the interaction of two historical forces: (i) changes over time in the relative attractiveness of different destinations within the US to the average migrant arriving at the time and (ii) the staggered timing of the arrival of migrants from different origin countries. We then use this plausibly exogenous variation in ancestry composition to predict the total number of migrants flowing into each US county in recent decades. We show four main results. First, immigration has a positive impact on innovation, measured by the patenting of local firms. Second, immigration has a positive impact on measures of local economic dynamism. Third, the positive impact of immigration on innovation percolates over space, but spatial spillovers quickly die out with distance. Fourth, the impact of immigration on innovation is stronger for more educated migrants.
    Keywords: dynamism; Endogenous Growth; Innovation; Migrations; patents
    JEL: J61 O31 O40
    Date: 2020–05
  9. By: Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara; SEEDS, Italy); Antonio Musolesi (University of Ferrara; SEEDS, Italy)
    Abstract: Innovation is a primary engine of sustainable growth. This paper provides new semiparametric econometric policy evaluation methods and estimates a green knowledge production function for a large, 30-year panel dataset of high-income countries. Because of the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the data-generating process and the likely presence of nonlinearities and latent common factors, the paper considers semiparametric panel specifications that extend the parametric multifactor error model and the random trend model. It also adopts a recently proposed information criterion for smooth model selection to compare these semiparametric models and their parametric counterparts. The results indicate that (1) the semiparametric additive specification with individual time trends is the preferred model, (2) threshold effects and nonlinearities are relevant features of the data that are obscured in parametric specifications, and (3) the effect of environmental policy is significant and clearly heterogeneous when modeled as a nonparametric function of certain knowledge inputs. The evidence shows a relevant nonlinear policy inducement effect occurring through R&D investments.
    Keywords: Innovation, knowledge, environmental policy, policy assessment, policy heterogeneity, large panels, cross-sectional dependence, factor models, random trend model, spline functions, model selection.
    Date: 2020–06

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