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Innovation under central planning: patenting and productivity in the GDR

Titus Frieling

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: This thesis employs novel datasets on patenting activity and TFP in the GDR to study the relationship between innovation and productivity. Patenting activity is chosen as a variable of interest due to its inherent link to the innovative process and high international and intertemporal comparability. No statistically significant relationship between patenting and future productivity growth is found in an analysis across 16 sectors of the GDR’s economy from 1950-1989. This result is unusual, and likely results out of the institutional framework of the GDR: firstly, it being a planned economy and the associated reduced productivity effects of innovations, and secondly, the GDR’s unique patent system which likely increased the number of patent applications while reducing their economic usefulness. By including the full breadth of the GDR’s patent stock, as well as robustly estimating the initial capital stock of the GDR, a more reliable account of both these variables can be made than was possible in previous studies. This thesis contributes to the literature through its use of new data and an adaptation of a proven empirical identification strategy to a new context. It also suggests avenues for further research on the relationship between patenting and innovation in the GDR and planned economies more widely.

JEL-codes: J01 N0 R14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2021-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-eff, nep-his, nep-ino, nep-ipr, nep-lab and nep-sbm
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