Why was Schumpeter not more concerned with patents?

Abstract : Although Schumpeter is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of the economic analysis of innovation and although the patent system occupies an important place today in this field of research, Schumpeter did not see patents as playing a key role for fostering innovation. He mentioned them only a couple of times, in passing, and never developed any scientific analysis of the patent system. In this paper, we propose an explanation of this blind spot based on three characteristics of Schumpeter’s thought: first, entrepreneurs are largely motivated by non-monetary elements; second, they enjoy a first-mover advantage because imitation is difficult; third, Schumpeter viewed the innovation process as a relentless race in which firms are doomed to innovate in order to avoid disappearing. The Schumpeterian view of the economic process therefore largely reduces the economic importance of patents.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 13, 2020 - 11:03:40 PM
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Rémy Guichardaz, Julien PÉnin. Why was Schumpeter not more concerned with patents?. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2019, 29 (4), pp.1361-1369. ⟨10.1007/s00191-019-00643-w⟩. ⟨hal-02437831⟩



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