NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns

Ajay K. Agrawal, Iain M. Cockburn, Carlos Rosell

NBER Working Paper No. 15437
Issued in October 2009
NBER Program(s):   PR

We examine variation in the concentration of inventive activity across 72 of North America's most highly innovative locations. In 12 of these areas, innovation is particularly concentrated in a single, large firm; we refer to such locations as "company towns.'' We find that inventors employed by large firms in these locations tend to draw disproportionately from their firm's own prior inventions (as measured by citations to their own prior patents) relative to what would be expected given the underlying distribution of innovative activity across all inventing firms in a particular technology field. Furthermore, we find such inventors are more likely to build upon the same prior inventions year after year. However, smaller firms in company towns do not exhibit this myopic behavior; they draw upon prior inventions as broadly as their small-firm counterparts in more diverse locations. In addition, we find that inventions by large firms in company towns have less impact than those produced elsewhere, although the difference is modest, and that the impact is disproportionately appropriated by the inventing firms themselves. Finally, the geographic scope of impact realized by company town inventions is narrower, whether produced by large or small firms.

download in pdf format
   (527 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (527 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15437

Published:

  • Agrawal, Ajay & Cockburn, Iain & Rosell, Carlos, 2010. "Not Invented Here? Innovation in company towns," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 78-89, January. ,
  • Ajay Agrawal & Iain Cockburn & Carlos Rosell, 2010. "Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns," NBER Chapters, in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Agrawal, Cockburn, Galasso, and Oettl w17793 Why are Some Regions More Innovative than Others? The Role of Firm Size Diversity
Kerr w15443 Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation
Agrawal, Kapur, and McHale w14592 Brain Drain or Brain Bank? The Impact of Skilled Emigration on Poor-Country Innovation
Agrawal, Cockburn, and McHale w9950 Gone But Not Forgotten: Labor Flows, Knowledge Spillovers, and Enduring Social Capital
Singh and Agrawal w15869 Recruiting for Ideas: How Firms Exploit the Prior Inventions of New Hires
 
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