The Rise of International Coinvention
The rapid rise of India and China as innovating nations seems to contradict conventional views of the economic growth and development process. India and China are still at the early stages of development, yet advanced nations are granting rapidly growing numbers of patents to inventors based in these countries. Our analysis of U.S. patents shows that a majority of these patents are granted to local inventor teams working for foreign multinationals. An important fraction of these patents incorporate direct intellectual inputs from researchers outside India or China, a trend that we characterize as "international co-invention." As such, the international patenting surge of India and China does not represent a challenge to traditional models of growth and development, so much as it represents a move toward an expanded international division of labor within global R&D networks. We explore these issues with a focus on multinational R&D in India.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the U.S. National Science Foundation (SciSIP grant no. 0830233), the Portuguese National Science Foundation (PTDC/ESC/71080/2006), the Carnegie Mellon Center for the Future of Work, the Kauffman Foundation, and the World Bank. We received helpful comments from Bronwyn Hall and from seminar audiences at the NBER, Carnegie Mellon, the 2012 Asia Pacific Innovation Conference, and the Atlanta Conference On Science and Innovation Policy 2013, and we appreciate the research assistance and intellectual input of Matej Drev. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and we retain sole responsibility for any errors.