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Patenting and Innovation in China: Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes

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Doctoral thesis

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China has undergone a patenting boom, with yearly increases in patent applications averaging 34 percent. Since 2000 this has resulted in a 16 fold increase in the annual number of patents and according to the United Nations, China s patent office has received more patent filings than any other country UN December 11, 2012. Previous literature indicates that this trend is driven by large volumes of low quality patents. Given this, I was motivated to understand the drivers of this trend, the impact of patenting promoting policies, and the innovative outcomes of Chinese firms. This dissertation examines these three questions in three separate essays What are the drivers of this patenting boom, and what implications exist for Chinese technical innovation What are the innovative impacts of the Indigenous Innovation Policy, which is designed to promote patenting How innovative are leading Chinese firms The first essay describes the drivers of the Chinese patent boom and their implications. Examining existing literature, I find that two key patenting drivers are the role of patent promoting policies including patent quotas and subsidies, and increasing competition among firms. These drivers produce low quality and high quality patents, respectively. I also find that the effects of another patentpromoting policy, the Chinese Indigenous Innovation Policy, are not fully understood. Finally, I provide policy prescriptions for increasing the quality of patenting. The second essay investigates the technology outcomes of the Chinese Indigenous Innovation Policy, which is a public procurement for innovation policy. Using a difference in difference strategy with count models and a simple prepost test I find that there are no economically significant effects from this policy at either the national or firm level.

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  • Information Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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