Entrepreneurship, Firm Dynamics and Growth
Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
- Chair: Tom Nicholas, Harvard University
The Birth of American Ingenuity: Innovation and Inventors of the Golden Age
AbstractWe examine the golden age of American technological development during the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries using new data on millions of inventions and
their creators. We undertake a major data matching exercise linking information from
US patent records with complete-count data from Federal Censuses between 1880 and
1940. We present a series of interrelated macro and micro-level facts, which help us to
address important questions related to innovation and long-run growth dynamics. In
particular we analyze key drivers of regional performance, openness to disruption, the
returns to innovation and the relationship between social mobility and invention.
Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?
AbstractIn many growth models, economic growth arises from people creating ideas, and the long-run growth rate is the product of two terms: the effective number of researchers and the research productivity of these people. We present a wide range of evidence from various industries, products, and firms showing that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply. A good example is Moore’s Law. The number of researchers required today to achieve the famous doubling every two years of the density of computer chips is more than 75 times larger than the number required in the early 1970s. Across a broad range of industry specific case studies and all levels of aggregation from macro-level or firm-level, we find that ideas --- and in particular the exponential growth they imply --- are getting harder and harder to find. Exponential growth results from the large increases in research effort that offset its declining productivity.
A Global View of Creative Destruction
AbstractWe present a model of innovation driven by creative destruction where innovation is undertaken by domestic and by foreign firms. We show how trade frictions affect the aggregate innovation rate, job flows (job creation and destruction), and entry and exit rates from exporting. We then illustrate how to infer the underlying innovation rates and trade frictions from observed data on job flows and the firm life cycle in U.S. manufacturing.
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
- O4 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity