Lockdowns and Innovation: Evidence from the 1918 Flu Pandemic
Does social distancing harm innovation? We estimate the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)—policies that restrict interactions in an attempt to slow the spread of disease—on local invention. We construct a panel of issued patents and NPIs adopted by 50 large US cities during the 1918 flu pandemic. Difference-in-differences estimates show that cities adopting longer NPIs did not experience a decline in patenting during the pandemic relative to short-NPI cities, and recorded higher patenting afterward. Rather than reduce local invention by restricting localized knowledge ...
Productivity Slowdown: Reducing the Measure of Our Ignorance
Growth accounting suggests that the bulk of the post-2004 slowdown in output growth in the U.S. is attributed to a residual called TFP. In this paper we provide a tractable accounting framework with firm heterogeneity to link this residual to innovations, markup dispersion, and potential measurement errors. Theories of creative destruction offer rich testable predictions of how the quality upgrading of products, the process efficiency of different firms, and markup dispersion in the market interact and therefore constitute a key approach to shed light on the slowdown in TFP growth. Surveying ...
Localized Knowledge Spillovers: Evidence from the Spatial Clustering of R&D Labs and Patent Citations
SUPERCEDES EORKING PAPER 17-32 Buzard et al. (2017) show that American R&D labs are highly spatially concentrated even within a given metropolitan area. We argue that the geography of their clusters is better suited for studying knowledge spillovers than are states, metropolitan areas, or other political or administrative boundaries that have predominantly been used in previous studies. In this paper, we assign patents and citations to these newly defined clusters of R&D labs. Our tests show that the localization of knowledge spillovers, as measured via patent citations, is strongest at small ...
Nothing is Certain Except Death and Taxes : The Lack of Policy Uncertainty from Expiring \"Temporary\" Taxes
What is the policy uncertainty surrounding expiring taxes? How uncertain are the approvals of routine extensions of temporary tax policies? To answer these questions, I use event studies to measure cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) for firms that claimed the U.S. research and development (R&D) tax credit from 1996-2015. In 1996, the U.S. R&D tax credit was statutorily temporary but was routinely extended ten times until 2015, when it was made permanent. I take the event dates as both when these ten extensions of the R&D tax credit were introduced into committee and when the extensions were ...
LOCALIZED KNOWLEDGE SPILLOVERS: EVIDENCE FROM THE AGGLOMERATION OF AMERICAN R&D LABS AND PATENT DATA
Supercedes 15-03 We employ a unique data set to examine the spatial clustering of private R&D labs. Instead of using fixed spatial boundaries, we develop a new procedure for identifying the location and size of specific R&D clusters. Thus, we are better able to identify the spatial locations of clusters at various scales, such as a half mile, 1 mile, 5 miles, and more. Assigning patents and citations to these clusters, we capture the geographic extent of knowledge spillovers within them. Our tests show that the localization of knowledge spillovers, as measured via patent citations, is ...
Monetary Policy in a Model of Growth
Empirical evidence suggests that recessions have long-run effects on the economy's productive capacity. Recent literature embeds endogenous growth mechanisms within business cycle models to account for these "scarring" effects. The optimal conduct of monetary policy in these settings, however, remains largely unexplored. This paper augments the standard sticky-price New Keynesian (NK) to allow for endogenous dynamics in aggregate productivity. The model has a representation similar to the two-equation NK model, with an additional condition linking productivity growth to current and expected ...
Venture Capital: A Catalyst for Innovation and Growth
This article studies the development of the venture capital (VC) industry in the United States and assesses how VC financing affects firm innovation and growth. The results highlight the essential role of VC financing for U.S. innovation and growth and suggest that VC development in other countries could promote their economic growth.
Openness and the Optimal Taxation of Foreign Know-How
Developing countries frequently offer tax incentives and even subsidize the entry and operation of foreign firms. I examine the optimality of such policies in an economy where growth is driven by entrepreneurial know-how, a skill that is continuously updated on the basis of the productive ideas implemented in the country. Openness allows foreign ideas to disseminate inside a country and can foster the country's domestic accumulation of know- how. With externalities, however, laissez-faire openness is suboptimal and can be growth-and even welfare-reducing. I examine the gains from openness ...
Product Turnover and the Cost of Living Index: Quality vs. Fashion Effects
This paper evaluates the effects of product turnover on a welfare-based cost-of-living index. We first present some facts about price and quantity changes over the product cycle employing scanner data for Japan for the years 1988-2013, which cover the deflationary period that started in the mid-1990s. We then develop a new methodology to decompose price changes at the time of product turnover into those due to the quality effect and those due to the fashion effect (i.e., the higher demand for products that are new). Our main findings are as follows: (1) the price and quantity of a new product ...
The Agglomeration of American Research and Development Labs
We employ a unique data set to examine the spatial clustering of about 1,700 private research and development (R&D) labs in California and across the Northeast corridor of the United States. Using these data, which contain the R&D labs? complete addresses, we are able to more precisely locate innovative activity than with patent data, which only contain zip codes for inventors? residential addresses. We avoid the problems of scale and borders associated with using fixed spatial boundaries, such as zip codes, by developing a new point pattern procedure. Our multiscale core-cluster approach ...