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A time to nourish? Evaluating the impact of innovative public procurement on technological generality through patent data

Emilio Raiteri ()

Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) from Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA)

Abstract: Innovative public procurement has been increasingly considered as a form of public support to innovative activities from both scholars and policy makers. Economic historians suggested an even more fundamental role for procurement in setting the pace of technological change, reporting how defense-related procurement had a major impact for the emergence of many general purpose technologies (GPT) developed in the United States in the 20th century. Conceiving the arrival of a GPT as a process unfolding in time, the paper surmises that procurement might represent one of the most important element in creating the right soil to \"cultivate\" a technology that has the potential to reach high levels of pervasiveness. To test this hypothesis I make use of patent data and patent citations. Citations allow to identify the connection between innovations related to public procurement and their technological antecedents and to measure the generality of the patents. Grounding on these two considerations, I hypothesize that receiving a citation from a patent related to public procurement raises the generality level of the cited patent. I design a quasi-experiment in which I compare the change in the generality level over time, between a group of treated and a group of control patents. A patent is assigned to the treatment group if it receives a citation from a patent related to public procurement. Results suggest a positive and significant impact of innovative public procurement upon the generality of a patent. Public demand seems to have crucial importance in increasing the pervasiveness of a technology, calling for Schumpeterian demand policies.

Keywords: Economics of Innovation; General Purpose Technologies; Public Procurement; Patent Data; Technology Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O30 H57 O33 O38 C21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-ino, nep-ipr and nep-pr~
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