Invention by College Graduates in Science and Engineering during Japan's Industrialization

Author Name YAMAGUCHI Shotaro (University of Maryland) / INOUE Hiroyasu (University of Hyogo) / NAKAJIMA Kentaro (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / OKAZAKI Tetsuji (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / SAITO Yukiko (Senior Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI) / Serguey BRAGUINSKY (University of Maryland / NBER / Osaka University)
Creation Date/NO. November 2022 22-E-104
Research Project Geography, inter-firm network and socio-economic structural change
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During Japan's industrialization from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century, the adoption of foreign technologies was increasingly complemented by domestic inventions, while the role played by college-educated scientists and engineers in inventions has not been examined. We match demographic, domicile and job information of Imperial University and Technical College science & engineering (S&E) graduates from the onset of Japanese higher S&E education with patent application records in the Japanese Patent Office during the period 1885-1940 to identify who were granted patents, when and where they invented, and how such patterns changed over time. We find that the presence of S&E graduates among inventors increased over time. The likelihood of becoming inventors significantly varied across schools and divisions. Also, Imperial University graduates tended to produce inventions of higher quality, and their inventions were more concentrated in regions where economic activities were intense.