Dissertation Executive Summary: Fuel of Interest and Fire of Genius: Essays on the Economic History of Innovation
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Citation of Original PublicationAndrews, Michael; Dissertation Executive Summary: Fuel of Interest and Fire of Genius: Essays on the Economic History of Innovation; https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3081168
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In this dissertation, I use historical patent data and natural experiments to show how policies and institutions affect invention. Chapter 1 shows that establishing new colleges causes 33% more patents per year in places that get a college, but few of these additional patents come from the college's graduates. Chapter 2 uses alcohol prohibition to show that informal social interactions are important for invention: shuttering saloons decreased patenting by 15%. The effect is strongest immediately after prohibition begins. Chapter 3 plots demographic trends of inventors; blacks and females are persistently underrepresented. Chapter 4 describes several historical patent datasets in detail.