Innovation Activities in Prewar Japan: Patent Bibliographic Information Database

Author Name INOUE Hiroyasu (University of Hyogo) / OKAZAKI Tetsuji (University of Tokyo) / SAITO Yukiko (Senior Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI) / NAKAJIMA Kentaro (Hitotsubashi University)
Creation Date/NO. April 2020 20-P-012
Research Project Dynamics of Inter-organizational Network and Firm Lifecycle
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Using patent information to understand the role of innovation in the process of industrialization in Japan, we examined paper documents and constructed a patent bibliographic information database from 1910 to 1945, which mainly consists of the prewar period. In this paper, we report the database construction method and the descriptive analysis using the database, especially from the viewpoint of the geographical distribution and collaboration pattern of innovation activities. We find the following results. First, patent applications are already concentrated in metropolitan areas, especially in Tokyo, from 1910. Second, patents categorized to technology class with higher technology tend to be more concentrated. While the number of collaborating patents are smaller compared to current numbers in 2020, the average number of collaborators increased from 1.1 to 1.5 during this period. The average number of collaborators for patents filed by foreigners is also lager and also increased during this period.