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The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited

While the importance of innovation to economic development is widely understood, the conditions conducive to it remain the focus of much attention. This volume offers new theoretical and empirical contributions to fundamental questions relating to the economics of innovation and technological change while revisiting the findings of a classic book. Central to the development of new technologies are institutional environments, and among the topics discussed here are the roles played by universities and other nonprofit research institutions and the ways in which the allocation of funds between the public and private sectors affects innovation. Other essays examine the practice of open research and how the diffusion of information technology influences the economics of knowledge accumulation. Analytically sophisticated and broad in scope, this book addresses a key topic at a time when economic growth is all the more topical.

632 pages | 1 halftone, 49 line drawings, 54 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2012

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Economics--Development, Growth, Planning

Table of Contents

The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited
Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors

Josh Lerner and Scott Stern

I. Panel Discussion: The Impact of the 1962 Rate and Direction Volume, a Retrospective

Why was Rate and Direction So Important?
Nathan Rosenberg and Scott Stern

Some Features of Research by Economists on Technological Change Foreshadowed by The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity
Richard R. Nelson

The Economics of Inventive Activity over Fifty Years
Kenneth J. Arrow

II. The University-Industry Interface

1. Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure, and the Public-Private Portfolio
Joshua S. Gans and Fiona Murray
Comment: Suzanne Scotchmer

2. The Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge across Time and Space: Evidence from Professional Transitions for the Superstars of Medicine
Pierre Azoulay, Joshua S. Graff Zivin, and Bhaven N. Sampat
Comment: Adam B. Jaffe

3. The Effects of the Foreign Fulbright Program on Knowledge Creation in Science and Engineering
Shulamit Kahn and Megan MacGarvie
Comment: Paula E. Stephan

III. Market Structure and Innovation
4. Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope: Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM
Timothy F. Bresnahan, Shane Greenstein, and Rebecca M. Henderson
Comment: Giovanni Dosi

5. How Entrepreneurs Affect the Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity
Daniel F. Spulber
Comment: Luis Cabral

6. Diversity and Technological Progress
Daron Acemoglu
Comment: Samuel Kortum

7. Competition and Innovation: Did Arrow Hit the Bull’s Eye?
Carl Shapiro
Comment: Michael D. Whinston

IV. The Sources and Motivations of Innovators

8. Did Plant Patents Create the American Rose?
Petra Moser and Paul W. Rhode
Comment: Jeffrey Furman

9. The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution:  Incentives and Institutions
Ralf R. Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr
Comment: David C. Mowery

10. The Confederacy of Heterogeneous Software Organizations and Heterogeneous Developers:  Field Experimental Evidence on Sorting and Worker Effort
Kevin J. Boudreau and Karim R. Lakhani
Comment: Iain M. Cockburn

V. Panel Discussion: Innovation Incentives, Institutions, and Economic Growth

The Innovation Fetish among the Economoi: Introduction to the Panel on Innovation Incentives, Institutions, and Economic Growth
Paul A. David

Innovation Process and Policy: What Do We Learn from New Growth Theory?
Philippe Aghion

VI. The Social Impact of Innovation

11. The Consequences of Financial Innovation: A Counterfactual Research Agenda
Josh Lerner and Peter Tufano
Comment: Antoinette Schoar

12. The Adversity/Hysteresis Effect: Depression-Era Productivity Growth in the US Railroad Sector
Alexander J. Field
Comment: William Kerr

13. Generality, Recombination, and Reuse
Timothy F. Bresnahan
Comment: Benjamin Jones

VII. Panel Discussion: The Art and Science of Innovation Policy

The Art and Science of Innovation Policy: Introduction
Bronwyn H. Hall

Putting Economic Ideas Back into Innovation Policy
R. Glenn Hubbard

Why Is It So Difficult to Translate Innovation Economics into Useful and Applicable Policy Prescriptions?
Dominique Foray

Can the Nelson-Arrow Paradigm Still Be the Beacon of Innovation Policy?
Manuel Trajtenberg

Author Index
Subject Index

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