Independent Invention in Italy During the Liberal Age, 1861–1913

29 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015

See all articles by Alessandro Nuvolari

Alessandro Nuvolari

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM)

Michelangelo Vasta

University of Siena - Department of Economics and Statistics

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

This article examines the phenomenon of independent invention in Italy during the Liberal Age (1861–1913). It makes use of a new dataset comprising all patents granted in Italy in five benchmark years: 1864–5, 1881, 1891, 1902, and 1911. The following exercises are carried out. First, an examination is undertaken of the shares of independent, corporate, and foreign inventions and their evolution over time and across industries. Second, by exploiting the peculiarities of Italian patent legislation, which was characterized by relatively cheap fees and a flexible renewal scheme, the relative quality of independent and corporate patents is assessed. The results indicate that in Italy independent inventors made an important contribution to technological change in terms of number of patents, but the quality of their patents was significantly lower than that of firms and of foreign patentees.

Suggested Citation

Nuvolari, Alessandro and Vasta, Michelangelo, Independent Invention in Italy During the Liberal Age, 1861–1913 (August 2015). The Economic History Review, Vol. 68, Issue 3, pp. 858-886, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2631793 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12087

Alessandro Nuvolari (Contact Author)

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )

Piazza Martiri della Liberta', 33-I-56127
Pisa
Italy

Michelangelo Vasta

University of Siena - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Piazza San Francesco 7
Siena, Siena 53100
Italy

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