Il 01.02.2022

The social value of knowledge production: recent insights from the most prominent R&D investors in the world

Elena Cefis - University of Bergamo

The Institute of Economics will hold a seminar meeting as part of its Seminar Series on Tuesday, February 1, 2022: Elena Cefis from the University of Bergamo will present the paper "The social value of knowledge production: recent insights from the most prominent R&D investors in the world".


The article explores and discusses the efficiency of R&D investments and the suitability of intellectual property rights altogether. On the one hand, some scholars identify an increasing difficulty in creating new, innovative knowledge and list it as a cause of the secular stagnation affecting western countries. On the other hand, there is a debate whether intellectual property rights systems balance the need for privately appropriate knowledge returns and that of accessing cumulative knowledge to feed new knowledge recombination, thus contributing to social welfare. Exploiting data about the world’s largest R&D investors between 2007 and 2015, matched with their patent filings and citation profiles, the authors find that a surprisingly sizeable and increasing number of patents do not contribute to subsequent knowledge creation: they are unuseful from a knowledge creation perspective because they are uncited. Moreover, by estimating a set of firm-level knowledge production functions augmented with the propensity to patent and research productivity factors, we find that R&D investments generate cited and uncited patents by similar extents. Such figures are robust across industries and patent offices. We posit that uncited patents are socially undesirable and suggest some implications for innovation policies.


The seminar will be held in blended mode. In person participation is possible and available seats are allocated on a first come first served basis. For online participation please use the following link.



Il 01.02.2022

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