International trends in technological progress: stylized facts from patent citations, 1980-2011
- Document type
- Working Paper
- Kwon, Soonwoo; Lee, Jihong; Lee, Sokbae
- Institute for Fiscal Studies
- Date of publication
- 26 March 2014
- cemmap working papers CWP16/14
- Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business
- Business and management
- Material type
This working paper analyses cross-country trends in technological progress over the period of 1980-2011 by examining citations data from almost 4 million utility patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The estimation results on patent quality and distance to the knowledge frontier reveal the following stylised facts:
- The emerging Asian economies of Korea, Taiwan, and China have indeed achieved substantial catch-up towards the technology frontier.
- In the case of Korea and Taiwan, progress has been made in terms of patent quality as well as distance to the frontier.
- Chinese patents are of higher quality now than before but Chinese inventors have yet to reduce the citation lag relative to the frontier.
- In contrast, advanced economies of Europe and Japan have displayed steady decline in their patent quality.
- Finally, the US has maintained, and in some cases strengthened, its position as the world technology frontier.
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