The availability of human capital is perhaps the most important factor explaining the invention rate for most industries. The authors find some evidence that higher job market density is associated with more patenting in industries such as pharmaceuticals and computers. They find evidence of increasing returns with respect to city size (total jobs) for many industries and more modest effects for increases in the size of an industry in a city. This suggests that inter-industry spillovers are often at least as important as intra-industry spillovers in explaining local rates of innovation. A more competitive local market structure, characterized by smaller establishments, contributes significantly to patenting in nearly all industries. More often than not, specialization among manufacturing industries is not particularly helpful, but the authors find the opposite for specialization among service industries. Industries benefit from different local sources of R&D (academia, government labs, and private labs) and to varying degrees.
Innovation Across U.S. Industries: The Effects of Local Economic Characteristics
WP 07-28 – This paper extends the research in Carlino, Chatterjee, and Hunt (2007) to examine the effects of local economic characteristics on the rate of innovation (as measured by patents) in more than a dozen industries.