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The Creation and Diffusion of Knowledge: Evidence from the Jet Age

Stefan Pauly () and Fernando Stipanicic ()
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Stefan Pauly: ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Fernando Stipanicic: UC Berkeley - University of California [Berkeley] - UC - University of California

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Abstract: Click here for the latest version This paper provides new causal evidence of the impact of air travel time on the creation and diffusion of knowledge. We exploit the beginning of the Jet Age as a quasi-natural experiment. We digitize airlines' historical flight schedules and construct a novel data set of the flight network in the United States. Between 1951 and 1966, travel time between locations more than 2,000 km apart decreased on average by 41%. The reduction in travel time explains 33% of the increase in knowledge diffusion as measured by patent citations. The increase in knowledge diffusion further caused an increase in the creation of new knowledge. The results provide evidence that jet airplanes led to innovation convergence across locations and contributed to the shift in innovation activity towards the South and the West of the United States.

Date: 2022-10-21
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-geo, nep-his, nep-knm, nep-tre and nep-ure
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://sciencespo.hal.science/hal-04067326
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