John P. Walsh

School of Public Policy

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2019How Innovative Are Innovations? A Multidimensional, Survey-Based Approach
with Wesley M. Cohen, You-Na Lee
in Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, Carol Corrado, Jonathan Haskel, Javier Miranda, and Daniel Sichel, organizers
We suggest that, with proper design, innovation surveys can provide valuable data on innovation rates that inform judgments about whether the reported innovations are important, and in what sense, thus making such data more interpretable than claims that such innovations are simply “new.” First, we recommend asking respondents questions about a specific innovation in an identified line of business. Second, we recommend asking respondents to characterize their innovations in terms of different features that potentially link to the social welfare impact of the innovation. We propose five such features: technological significance, utility, uniqueness, imitability, and how different the innovation is from what the innovating firm has previously commercialized (what we call “distance” or the ...
June 2014The Acquisition and Commercialization of Invention in American Manufacturing: Incidence and Impact
with Ashish Arora, Wesley M. Cohen: w20264
Recent accounts suggest the development and commercialization of invention has become more “open.” Greater division of labor between inventors and innovators can enhance social welfare through gains from trade and greater economies of specialization. Moreover, this extensive reliance upon outside sources for invention also suggests that understanding the factors that condition the extramural supply of inventions to innovators is crucial to understanding the determinants of the rate and direction of innovative activity. This paper reports on a recent survey of over 6000 American manufacturing and service sector firms on the extent to which innovators rely upon external sources of invention. Our results indicate that, between 2007 and 2009, 16% of manufacturing firms had innovated – meanin...

Published: Ashish Arora & Wesley M. Cohen & John P. Walsh, 2016. "The acquisition and commercialization of invention in American manufacturing: Incidence and impact," Research Policy, vol 45(6), pages 1113-1128. citation courtesy of

February 2000Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)
with Wesley M. Cohen, Richard R. Nelson: w7552
Based on a survey questionnaire administered to 1478 R&D labs in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 1994, we find that firms typically protect the profits due to invention with a range of mechanisms, including patents, secrecy, lead time advantages and the use of complementary marketing and manufacturing capabilities. Of these mechanisms, however, patents tend to be the least emphasized by firms in the majority of manufacturing industries, and secrecy and lead time tend to be emphasized most heavily. A comparison of our results with the earlier survey findings of Levin et al. [1987] suggest that patents may be relied upon somewhat more heavily by larger firms now than in the early 1980s. For the protection of product innovations, secrecy now appears to be much more heavily employed across m...
January 1991The Museum's Collection
with Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Julia Brown Turrell, Jay E. Cantor
in The Economics of Art Museums, Martin Feldstein, editor
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