The Tree of Knowledge

Authors: Christopher Esposito*, UCLA
Topics: Economic Geography, Quantitative Methods, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: economic geography, innovation, knowledge
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Director's Row H, Sheraton, Plaza Building, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Economic geographers generally agree that history matters for regional economic change, but – at least within the quantitative literature – the rendering of history within the sub-discipline has remained flat, static, and awkwardly conceived. Motivated by the fact that competition and innovation are inherently dynamic processes, I present a novel dataset that traces back the history of all patented inventions to their knowledge-based origins. I discuss some of the general features of the tree of technical knowledge, and I conclude by showing how the knowledge tree can be used to study the evolution of regional knowledge economies as they forge new branches in the tree.

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