Economics at your fingertips  

Patterns of innovation during the Industrial Revolution: A reappraisal using a composite indicator of patent quality

Alessandro Nuvolari (), Valentina Tartari and Matteo Tranchero

Explorations in Economic History, 2021, vol. 82, issue C

Abstract: The distinction between macro- and microinventions is at the core of recent debates on the Industrial Revolution. Yet, the empirical testing of this notion has remained elusive. We address this issue by introducing a new quality indicator for all patents granted in England in the period 1700–1850. The indicator provides the opportunity for a large-scale empirical appraisal of macro- and microinventions. Our findings indicate that macroinventions did not exhibit any specific time-clustering, while microinventions were characterized by clustering behavior. In addition, we also find that macroinventions displayed a labor-saving bias and were mostly introduced by professional engineers. These results suggest that Allen’s and Mokyr’s views of macroinventions, rather than conflicting, should be regarded as complementary.

Keywords: Industrial revolution; Patents; Macroinventions; Microinventions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N73 O31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: Patterns of Innovation during the Industrial Revolution: a Reappraisal using a Composite Indicator of Patent Quality (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Patterns of innovation during the industrial revolution: a reappraisal using a composite indicator of patent quality (2019) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101419

Access Statistics for this article

Explorations in Economic History is currently edited by R.H. Steckel

More articles in Explorations in Economic History from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2022-09-08
Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:82:y:2021:i:c:s0014498321000413