Searle Center's Project on Innovation Economics

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Project and Its Elements: The Project, put simply, is to entice researchers, both untenured and those who are well-established, to work on the Economics of Innovation and produce a coherent and insightful body of knowledge. The current “state of the art” is extremely disappointing, full of policy pronouncements built on foundations of intellectual sand. Instead, we need an intellectually respectable field of Innovation Economics to understand how inventive activity occurs and is commercialized. Such a field requires new theory, rooted in the actual practices of those who produce and utilize innovations, as well as empirical work testing the theory. To this end, the Searle Center will create and maintain several constituent elements of the field in order to produce the conditions for success. These elements are: • Conferences: We will organize two conferences per year, one in June and one in September. o June-Academic Conference: The June conference will be a large, well-publicized academic event at which the selected papers will be presented and critiqued. Currently there are very few venues around the world where researchers on innovation can meet, share their work, and exchange ideas. This conference will fill that void, helping a true community of Innovation Economics scholars to form. The conference will be organized by Professor Dan Spulber. The conference is also key to establishing an academic community to research and discuss issues relevant to Innovation Economics. The conference will include a call-for-papers, merit-based selection, adequate travel stipend for those chosen to present and comment, and will be held at Northwestern University School of Law. This event will refine, publicize, and sharpen the work presented at the conference, thereby helping the field of Innovation Economics to grow; there is nothing like presenting a good paper in front of a “who’s who” in the field to help one’s career along. o September-Research Roundtable: To generate a field of Innovation Economics, professors around the world must be induced to work in the area. The September conference will be smaller, in the Research Roundtable format, and will be directly aimed at persuading researchers – particularly young people just starting out – that working in Innovation Economics will be fruitful, interesting, and lead to publications that can support favorable tenure decisions. This conference will be organized by Professor Spulber and will likely feature two or three talks by those in the field, pointing out what we know and what we don’t know. The not-so-subtle subtext will be to highlight the existence of many new research projects that can be executed by the attendees. o Special Issue-JEMS: To induce professors to work in a given field, they must be convinced that there are very high quality journals in which they can publish their articles. Professor Spulber intends to edit annual special issues of the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy (JEMS), published by Wiley-Blackwell, that are related to the topics of the annual June conference but developed independently of those conferences. The papers in JEMS will go through the standard editing and refereeing process. Conference presenters need not submit their work to JEMS and authors submitting their work to JEMS need not present their work at the conferences. • Databases: The current literature is full of evidence-free claims that royalty stacking, patent thickets, hold-up, and other pathologies plague patents to a degree that both manufacturing and innovation are
Effective start/end date8/13/138/31/19


  • Qualcomm Incorporated (Check #6500153172)


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