The Roots of Agricultural Innovation: Patent Evidence of Knowledge Spillovers
This chapter investigates the extent to which agricultural innovations draws on ideas originating outside of agriculture. We identify a large set of US patents for agricultural technologies granted between 1976 and 2018. To measure knowledge spillovers to these patents, we rely on three proxies: patent citations to other patents, patent citations to the scientific literature, and a novel text analysis to identify and track new ideas in the patent text. We find that more than half of knowledge flows originate outside of agriculture. The majority of these knowledge inflows, however, still originate in domains that are close to agriculture.
The authors would like to thank the organizers and participants at the NBER conference on the Economics of Research and Innovation in Agriculture, and in particular our discussant Alberto Galasso. GianCarlo Moschini also acknowledges the support of the Pioneer Endowed Chair in Science and Technology Policy. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.