The NBER Project on Industrial Technology and Productivity


A Project of the NBER Productivity Program

Project Coordinators: Iain Cockburn and Adam B. Jaffe

The NBER Project on Industrial Technology and Productivity was begun in 1994 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Under the overall direction of NBER President Martin S. Feldstein, the project has three intertwined objectives. First, we seek to foster research on the fundamental determinants of productivity improvement, including the development and diffusion of new technology, investment in plant and equipment, managerial and organizational innovation and changes in employment relations. Second, the project encourages economists studying these issues to supplement their traditional theoretical and empirical research methods with direct observation of business firms and conversations with managers and workers. Finally, the project provides a framework for communication among economists interested in productivity issues, researchers from other academic disciplines, and policymakers responsible for science and technology policy. We hope that this communication will allow policy to be informed by current research of social scientists, and to allow researchersÂ’ agendas to be influenced by the priorities of the policy process.

The Project has engaged in a variety of activities in pursuit of these objectives:

  • We have organized a variety of visits to firms by groups of 5 to 20 researchers to discuss how these firms monitor productivity performance and the measures that they have taken to improve productivity.

  • We have sponsored over 50 specific research papers combining traditional economic research methods and field research.

  • We have organized 3 major research conferences.

  • Presentations of Project-sponsored research have been made on a regular basis to the Productivity and Labor Studies meetings during the NBER Summer Institute.

  • Periodic meetings of the Science and Technology Policy Research Group have explored issues such as the commercial impact of publicly-funded research, the prospects for the scientific and technical labor force, and factors behind the recent increases in patenting in the U.S.

  • A June 1998 special issue of the Journal of Industrial Economics entitled "Inside the Pin-Factory: Empirical Studies Augmented by Manager Interviews" was devoted to research papers produced by the Project.
A report on this project was presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Economic Association, January 2000.

Recent Events

The Patent System and Innovation, January 8 & 9, 1999, organized by Adam Jaffe, Jenny Lanjouw and Joshua Lerner.

Research Conference on Organizational Change and Performance Improvement, April 22-24, 1999, organized by Susan Helper

Science and Technology Policy Research Group meeting, July 19, 1999, organized by Adam Jaffe, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern


Project on Industrial Technology and Productivity Research Presentations, July 30, 1999, organized by Adam Jaffe

Project Sponsored Research Papers

Trade in Capital Goods
Jonathan Eaton and Samuel Kortum
NBER Working Paper 8070

The Anatomy and Effects of Employee Involvement
Richard Freeman and Morris Kleiner
NBER Working Paper 8050

R&D Policy in Israel: An Overview and Reassessment
Manuel Trajtenberg
NBER Working Paper 7930

The Regulation of Entry
Simeon Djankov, Rafael La Porta, Florencio de Silanes, and Andrei Shleifer
NBER Working Paper 7892

Measuring the "Ideas" Production Function: Evidence from International Patent Output
Michael E. Porter and Scott Stern
NBER Working Paper 7891

Upstairs, Downstairs: Computer -Skill Complementarity and Computer- Labor Substitution on Two Floors of a Large Bank
David H. Autor, Frank Levy, and Richard J. Muranane
NBER Working Paper 7890

The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes
Susan Athey and Scott Stern
NBER Working Paper 7887

When Does Funding Research By Smaller Firms Bear Fruit?: Evidence from the SBIR Program
Joshua S. Gans and Scott Stern
NBER Working Paper 7877

The Determinants of National Innovative Capacity
Scott Stern, Michael E. Porter, and Jeffrey L. Furman
NBER Working Paper 7876

Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants
Nina Pavcnik
NBER Working Paper 7852

When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?
Joshua S. Gans, David H. Hsu, and Scott Stern
NBER Working Paper 7851

Does the "New Economy" Measure up to the Great Inventions of the Past?
Robert J. Gordon
NBER Working Paper 7833

Interpreting the "One Big Wave" in U.S. Long-term Productivity Growth
Robert J. Gordon
NBER Working Paper 7752

Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look
Bronwyn H. Hall, Adam Jaffe, and Manuel Tranjtenberg
NBER Working Paper 7741

Building and Delivering the Virtual World: Commercializing Services for Internet Access
Shane Greenstein
NBER Working Paper 7690

Plants and Productivity in International Trade
Andrew B. Bernard, Jonathan Eaton, J. Bradford Jenson, Samuel Kortum
NBER Working Paper 7688

The Meaning of Patent Citations: Report on the NBER/Case - Western Reserve Survey of Patentees
Adam B. Jaffe, Manuel Trajtenberg, Michael S. Fogarty
NBER Working Paper 7631

Protecting Their Intellectual Assets:Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)
Wesley M. Cohen, Richard R. Nelson and John P. Walsh
NBER Working Paper 7552

Heart of Darkness: Modeling Public-Private Funding Interactions Inside the R&D Black Box
Paul A. David and Bronwyn H. Hall
NBER Working Paper 7538

Geographic Localization of International Technology Diffusion
Wolfgang Keller
NBER Working Paper 7509

Do Patents Matter?: Empirical Evidence after GATT
Jean O. Lanjouw and Iain Cockburn
NBER Working Paper 7495

Endogenous R & D Spillovers and Industrial Research Productivity
James D. Adams
NBER Working Paper 7484

150 Years of Patent Protection
Josh Lerner
NBER Working Paper 7478

Human Resource Management and Performance in the Service Sector: The Case of Bank Branches
Ann P. Bartel
NBER Working Paper 7467

Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: the Role of Computer Investment
Timothy Dunne, Lucia Foster, John Haltiwanger
NBER Working Paper 7465

Do Equity Financing Cycles Matter? Evidence from Biotechnology Alliances
Josh Lerner and Alexander Tsai
NBER Working Paper 7464

Output-based Pay: Incentives or Sorting?
Edward P. Lazear
NBER Working Paper 7419

Do Industrial Relations Affect Plant Performance?: The Case of Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing
Morris M. Kleiner, Jonathan S. Leonard and Adam M. Pilarski
NBER Working Paper 7414

Organizational Change in French Manufacturing: What Do We Learn From Firm Representatives and From Their Employees?
Nathalie Greenan and Jacques Mairesse
NBER Working Paper 7285

Assessing the Impact of Organizational Practices on the Productivity of University Technology Transfer Offices: An Exploratory Study
Donald Siegel, David Waldman and Albert Link
NBER Working Paper 7256

Product Differentiation and the Use of Information Technology: New Evidence from the Trucking Industry
Atreya Chakraborty and Mark Kazarosian
NBER Working Paper 7222

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