Sources of Innovation, Creativity, and Productivity
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
- Chair: Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University
The Role of Production Factor Quality and Technology Diffusion in 20th Century Productivity Growth
AbstractThe role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth
Copyright and Creativity: Evidence from Italian Operas
AbstractThis paper exploits variation in the adoption of copyright laws – due to idiosyncratic variation in the timing of Napoléon’s military victories – to investigate the causal effects of copyright laws on creativity. To measure variation creative output, we use new data on 2,598 operas that premiered across eight states within Italy between 1770 and 1900. This analysis indicates that the adoption of basic levels of copyright laws raised both the level and the quality of creative output in states with copyrights. The benefits of additional years of copyright, however, decline with the existing length of copyrights. Composer-level analyses indicate that much of the observed increase in creativity was driven by immigrants, who were attracted to states with favorable copyright terms. Consistent with agglomeration externalities, we also find that cities with a better pre-existing infrastructure of performance spaces benefitted more copyright laws.
The Impact of Institutions on Innovation
AbstractThis paper studies the impact of institutional reforms on innovation. We use the timing and geography of the French occupation of different regions of Germany after the French Revolution of 1789 as an exogenous shock to the institutions of those regions. Combining novel county-level data on Imperial Germany with data on patents per capita, we show that counties whose institutions are more inclusive as a result of the French occupation become more innovative. The institutional reforms that are associated with comparing a county with no occupation to a county with the longest occupation, result in a 129% increase in the number of patents per capita. This result is robust to alternative explanations, such as reverse causality, human capital and financial development. Our findings point to institutions as a first order determinant of innovation and highlight the role of innovation as a key mechanism through which institutions may lead to economic growth.
- N4 - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation