NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Crossover Inventions And Knowledge Diffusion Of General Purpose Technologies? Evidence From The Electrical Technology

Shih-tse Lo, Dhanoos Sutthiphisal

NBER Working Paper No. 14043
Issued in May 2008
NBER Program(s):   DAE   PR

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.

download in pdf format
   (218 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (218 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14043

Published: The Journal of Economic History The Journal of Economic History / Volume 70 / Issue 03 / September 2010, pp 744-764 Copyright © The Economic History Association 2010 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022050710000604 (About DOI), Published online: 06 September 2010

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Lo and Sutthiphisal w14926 Does it Matter Who Has the Right to Patent: First-to-invent or First-to-file? Lessons From Canada
Rosenberg and Trajtenberg w8485 A General Purpose Technology at Work: The Corliss Steam Engine in the late 19th Century US
Lamoreaux, Sokoloff, and Sutthiphisal w15440 The Reorganization of Inventive Activity in the United States during the Early Twentieth Century
Lamoreaux, Levenstein, and Sokoloff w10923 Financing Invention During the Second Industrial Revolution: Cleveland, Ohio, 1870-1920
Lamoreaux and Rosenthal w10288 Legal Regime and Business's Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us