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The Innovation Puzzle: Patents and Productivity Growth
FRB of St. Louis
2024.04.02
Evaluating innovation policy includes understanding the pace of technological progress. Economists often measure a country‘s rate of progress using the number of new patents, which are exclusive rights inventors receive for their inventions. Figure 1 shows that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. inventors 50% more patents per capita in the 2000s than in the 1950s, which suggests an acceleration in the rate of technological progress.