DP15620 British-French technology transfer from the Revolution to Louis Philippe (1791-1844): evidence from patent data

Author(s): Alessandro Nuvolari, Gaspare Tortorici, Michelangelo Vasta
Publication Date: December 2020
Keyword(s): Britain, France, industrial revolution, patents, Technology Transfer
JEL(s): N73, O3
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15620

This paper examines the patterns of technology transfer from Britain to France during the early phases of industrialization; it does so by making use of a dataset comprising all patents granted in France during the period 1791-1844. Exploiting the peculiarities of the French legislation, we construct an array of patent quality indicators and econometrically investigate their determinants. We find that patents filed by British inventors or French inventors personally linked with British ones were of relatively higher quality. Overall, our results show that the French innovation system was effectively capable of attracting and absorbing key technologies from Britain.