NBER Working Papers by Dhanoos Sutthiphisal

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Working Papers

October 2009The Reorganization of Inventive Activity in the United States during the Early Twentieth Century
with Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Kenneth L. Sokoloff: w15440
The standard view of U.S. technological history is that the locus of invention shifted during the early twentieth century to large firms whose in-house research laboratories were superior sites for advancing the complex technologies of the second industrial revolution. In recent years this view has been subject to increasing criticism. At the same time, new research on equity markets during the early twentieth century suggests that smaller, more entrepreneurial enterprises were finding it easier to gain financial backing for technological discovery. We use data on the assignment (sale or transfer) of patents to explore the extent to which, and how, inventive activity was reorganized during this period. We find that two alternative modes of technological discovery developed in parallel ...
April 2009Does it Matter Who Has the Right to Patent: First-to-invent or First-to-file? Lessons From Canada
with Shih-tse Lo: w14926
A switch to a first-to-file patent regime from its first-to-invent system has become imminent for the U.S. To learn about probable effects of such a policy change, we examine a similar switch that occurred in Canada in 1989. We find that the switch failed to stimulate Canadian R&D efforts. Nor did it have any effects on overall patenting. However, the reforms had a small adverse effect on domestic-oriented industries and skewed the ownership structure of patented inventions towards large corporations, away from independent inventors and small businesses. These findings challenge the merits of adopting a first-to-file patent regime.
May 2008Crossover Inventions And Knowledge Diffusion Of General Purpose Technologies? Evidence From The Electrical Technology
with Shih-tse Lo: w14043
Scholars have long noted the significant impact of general purpose technologies (GPTs) on the economy. However, limited attention has been paid to exploring how they are employed to generate inventions in downstream sectors (crossover inventions), and what factors may facilitate such diffusion. We study these issues by examining the introduction of one of the widely regarded GPTs -- electrical technology -- in the late 19th century U.S. We find that knowledge spillovers between industries (inter-industry spillovers and learning-by-using) had little influence on the geography of crossover inventions as well as the speed and productivity of inventors at making them. Instead, appropriate human capital and an environment promoting inventions in general played a more important role.
August 2006Learning-by-Producing and the Geographic Links Between Invention and Production: Experience From the Second Industrial Revolution
This paper investigates the impact of ¡§learning-by-producing¡¨ on inventive activity and shows that, in both emerging (electrical equipment and supplies) and maturing (shoes and textiles) industries, the geographic association between invention and production was rather weak during the Second Industrial Revolution. Regional shifts in production were neither accompanied nor followed by corresponding increases in invention. Instead, this paper finds that the geographic location of inventive activity tended to mirror the geographic distribution of individuals with advanced technical skills appropriate to the particular industry in question. Even in the craft-based shoe industry, much of the invention came from those with the advanced technical skills. The findings suggest that scholars have ...

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