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Disruptive innovation and spatial inequality

Kemeny, Tom, Petralia, Sergio and Storper, Michael ORCID: 0000-0002-8354-792X (2022) Disruptive innovation and spatial inequality. Regional Studies. ISSN 0034-3404

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00343404.2022.2076824

Abstract

Although technological change is widely credited as driving the last 200 years of economic growth, its role in shaping patterns of inequality remains under-explored. Drawing parallels across two industrial revolutions in the United States, this paper provides new evidence of a relationship between highly disruptive forms of innovation and spatial inequality. Using the universe of patents granted between 1920 and 2010 by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we identify disruptive innovations through their rapid growth, complementarity with other innovations and widespread use. We then assign more and less disruptive innovations to subnational regions in the geography of the United States. We document three findings that are new to the literature. First, disruptive innovations exhibit distinctive spatial clustering in phases understood to be those in which industrial revolutions reshape the economy; they are increasingly dispersed in other periods. Second, we discover that the ranks of locations that capture the most disruptive innovation are relatively unstable across industrial revolutions. Third, regression estimates suggest a role for disruptive innovation in regulating overall patterns of spatial output and income inequality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/cres20
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
T Technology > T Technology (General)
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs > J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials by Skill, Training, Occupation, etc.
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O30 - General
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies > O51 - U.S.; Canada
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 11:42
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 13:54
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115953

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