publication . Report . Preprint . Article . 1989

Patents: Recent Trends and Puzzles

Zvi Griliches; William D. Nordhaus; F. M. Scherer;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Apr 1989
  • Publisher: National Bureau of Economic Research
This paper reviews the historical data on patenting in the United States with special reference to the last 20 years and their potential relation, if any, to the recent productivity slowdown. Two Points are made: Patents are not a "constant-yardstick" indicator of either inventive input or output. Moreover, they are "produced" by a governmental agency which goes through its own budgetary and inefficiency cycles. The paper shows that the appearance of an absolute decline in patenting in the 1970's is an artifact of such a cycle. This leaves us still with the longer run puzzle of a slower growth in patenting, especially by U.S. residents, relative to R&D expenditu...
free text keywords: Inefficiency, Monetary economics, Engineering, business.industry, business, Diminishing returns, Slowdown, Economy
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