NBER Working Papers by Alfonso Gambardella

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Working Papers

March 2010Harmonizing and Combining Large Datasets – An Application to Firm-Level Patent and Accounting Data
with Grid Thoma, Salvatore Torrisi, Dominique Guellec, Bronwyn H. Hall, Dietmar Harhoff: w15851
This paper discusses methods for the harmonization and combination of large-scale patent and trademark datasets with each other and other sources of data. Dictionary- and rule-based approaches to the consolidation of applicant names in patent data are presented and shown to have both benefits and drawbacks in isolation. We combine the two methods and develop a set of rules and dictionaries to consolidate European, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and US patent data with firm accounting data. The resulting data encompass about 131,000 patent applicant names from 46 countries, covering 58.8 percent of EPO applications and 50.6 percent of PCT applications by business organizations during the time period from 1979 to 2008. For US data, the resulting dataset includes around 54,000 assignee names...
January 2010Implications for Energy Innovation from the chemical industry
with Ashish Arora: w15676
The history of innovation in the chemical industry offers many insights for accelerating energy innovation. In this chapter, we begin by laying out the early history of the chemical industry for an overview of the role innovation has played in its development. We then explore three noteworthy historical experiences. We describe the switch in feedstocks from coal to oil, and briefly analyze two government programs that have attempted to promote innovation: synthetic rubber and synfuels. We take a close look at the role that specialized engineering firms have played in the diffusion of important innovations, and we detail the effect that government policies have had on fostering innovation. In particular, we highlight the role of anti-trust policies, and of policies for protecting intellect...
February 2005Proprietary vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products
with Bronwyn H. Hall: w11120
We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show that without some kind of coordination, production of the public knowledge good (science or research software or database) is sub-optimal. Then we demonstrate that if "lead" researchers are able to establish a norm of contribution to the public good, a better outcome can be achieved, and we show that the General Public License (GPL) used in the provision of open source software is one of such mechanisms. Our results are then applied to the specific setting where the knowledge being produced is software or a database that will be used by academic researchers and possibly by private firms, using as an ex...
June 2004The Globalization of the Software Industry: Perspectives and Opportunities for Developed and Developing Countries
with Asish Arora: w10538
The spectacular growth of the software industry in some non-G7 economies has aroused both interest and concern. This paper addresses two sets of inter-related issues. First, we explore the determinants of these successful stories. We then touch upon the broader question of what lessons, if any, can be drawn from for economic development more generally. Finally, examining the long term implications of offshoring of software, we conclude that it is unlikely to pose a long term threat to American technological leadership. Instead, the U.S. economy will broadly benefit from the growth of new software producing regions. The U.S. technological leadership rests in part upon the continued position of the U.S. as the primary destination for highly trained and skilled scientists and engineers from t...

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