Daniel P. Gross
Harvard Business School
Boston, MA 02163
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|September 2019||Collusive Investments in Technological Compatibility: Lessons from U.S. Railroads in the Late 19th Century|
Collusion is widely condemned for its negative effects on consumer welfare and market efficiency. In this paper, I show that collusion may also in some cases facilitate the creation of unexpected new sources of value. I bring this possibility into focus through the lens of a historical episode from the 19th century, when colluding railroads in the U.S. South converted 13,000 miles of railroad track to standard gauge over the course of two days in 1886, integrating the South into the national transportation network. Route-level freight traffic data reveal that the gauge change caused a large shift in market share from steamships to railroads, but did not affect total shipments or prices on these routes. Guided by these results, I develop a model of compatibility choice in a collusive market...
|February 2019||The Consequences of Invention Secrecy: Evidence from the USPTO Patent Secrecy Program in World War II|
This paper studies the effects of the USPTO's patent secrecy program in World War II, under which over 11,000 U.S. patent applications were issued secrecy orders which halted examination and prohibited inventors from disclosing their inventions or filing in foreign countries. Secrecy orders were issued most heavily in high-tech areas important to the war effort – such as radar, electronics, and synthetic materials – and nearly all rescinded at the end of the war. I find that compulsory invention secrecy reduced follow-on invention and restricted commercialization, but as part of the security policies in place during the war it appears to have been effective at keeping sensitive technology out of the public view. The results shed light on the consequences of invention secrecy, which is wide...
|September 2018||Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production|
Though fundamental to innovation and essential to many industries and occupations, individual creativity has received limited attention as an economic behavior and has historically proven difficult to study. This paper studies the incentive effects of competition on individuals' creative production. Using a sample of commercial logo design competitions, and a novel, content-based measure of originality, I find that intensifying competition induces agents to produce original, untested ideas over tweaking their earlier work, but heavy competition drives them to stop investing altogether. The results yield lessons for the management of creative workers and for the implementation of competitive procurement mechanisms for innovation.
|December 2017||Scale versus Scope in the Diffusion of New Technology: Evidence from the Farm Tractor|
Using the farm tractor as a case study, I show that lags in technology diffusion arise along two distinct margins, which I term scale and scope. Though tractors are now used in nearly every agricultural field operation and in the production of nearly all crops, they first developed with much more limited application. Early diffusion was accordingly rapid in these narrower applications, but limited in scope until tractor technology generalized. The sequence of diffusion is consistent with a model of R&D in specific- versus general-purpose attributes and with other historical examples, suggesting that the key to understanding technology diffusion lies not only in explaining the number of different users, but also in explaining the number of different uses.
Published: Daniel P. Gross, 2018. "Scale versus scope in the diffusion of new technology: evidence from the farm tractor," The RAND Journal of Economics, vol 49(2), pages 427-452. citation courtesy of