NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Inventive Activity and the Market for Technology in the United States, 1840-1920

Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Kenneth L. Sokoloff

NBER Working Paper No. 7107
Issued in May 1999
NBER Program(s):   DAE   PR

The growth of the U.S. economy over the nineteenth century was characterized by a sharp acceleration in the rate of inventive activity and a dramatic rise in the relative importance of highly specialized inventors as generators of new technological knowledge. Relying on evidence compiled from patent records, we argue that the evolution of a market for technology played a central role in these developments. Across both individuals and geographic areas, the expansion of opportunities to trade in patent rights was closely associated with increases in specialization at invention, as well as advances in rates of invention more generally. The patent system is often celebrated for the stimulus to invention provided by granting limited monopoly rights to inventors for the use of their discoveries, but its specification of tradable assets in technology has also been important.

download in pdf format
   (465 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (465 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7107

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Lamoreaux and Sokoloff Inventors, Firms, and the Market for Technology in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
Khan and Sokoloff w10966 Institutions and Technological Innovation During the Early Economic Growth: Evidence from the Great Inventors of the United States, 1790-1930
Lamoreaux and Sokoloff w9017 Intermediaries in the U.S. Market for Technology, 1870-1920
Lamoreaux, Sokoloff, and Sutthiphisal w15440 The Reorganization of Inventive Activity in the United States during the Early Twentieth Century
Davis, Nalewaik, and Willen w7796 On the Gains to International Trade in Risky Financial Assets
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us