NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Value of Patents as Indicators of Inventive Activity

Zvi Griliches, Ariel Pakes, Bronwyn H. Hall

NBER Working Paper No. 2083 (Also Reprint No. r1031)
Issued in September 1988
NBER Program(s):   PR

This paper summarizes a number of studies which use patent data to examine different aspects of technological change. It describes our firm level data set construction effort; reports on the relationship between RLD expenditures and the level of patenting; analyzes the relationship between patents, R&D, and tire stock market value of firms; reports on the estimation of the value of patent rights based on European patent renewal data; and describes the use of patent data to estimate the importance of R&D spillovers. It concludes that patent data represent a valuable resource for the analysis of technological change. They can be used to study longer-run interfirm differences in inventive activity and as a substitute for R&D data where they are not available in the desired detail. It is possible also to use a firm's distribution of patenting by field to infer its position in "technological space" and use it in turn to study how R&D spills over from one firm to another. Moreover, patent renewal data, which are also becoming available in the U.S., allow one to construct more relevant "quality weighted" inventive "output" measures .

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Published: Griliches, Zvi, Ariel Pakes and Bronwyn H. Hall. "The Value of Patents as Indicatiors of Inventive Activity," Economic Policy and Technical Performance, eds. P. Dasgupta and P. Stoneman, pp. 97-124. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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