Assistant Professor at the Economics Department of the University of Munich
I am an assistant professor at the Economics Department of the University of Munich and
Affiliate of the CESifo Research Network
You can find my CV here.
I am co-organizer of the Munich Innovation Seminar.
Google Scholar Profile
Standing on the shoulders of science
with Monika Schnitzer, LMU
The goal of science is to advance knowledge, yet little is known about its value for marketplace inventions. While important breakthrough technologies could not have been developed without scientific background, skeptics argue that this is the exception rather than the rule, questioning the usefulness of basic research for private sector innovations and the effectiveness of the knowledge transfer from university to industry. We analyze the universe of U.S. patents to establish three new facts about the relationship between science and the value of inventions. First, we show that a patent that directly builds on science is on average 2.9 million U.S. dollars more valuable than a patent in the same technology that is unrelated to science. Based on the analysis of the patent text, we show second that the novelty of patents predicts their value, and third that science-intensive patents are more novel. This documents that science introduces new concepts that are valuable for marketplace inventions. Our study informs the debate on the merits of science for corporate innovation and the origins of breakthrough inventions.
Job Creation in Tight and Slack Labor Markets
with Matthias Wilhelm and Lukas Buchheim, LMU
Do investment programs create more jobs in tight or in slack labor markets? We study this question using data from a large, long-term photovoltaic invest scheme in Germany. Comparing counties with high and low unemployment both over time and across space, we find that photovoltaic installations created at least twice as many jobs in slack than in tight labor markets. Our results suggest that the differences in job-creation are not driven by changes in the composition or prices of investment, capital-labor substitution, or regional migration. This leaves crowding-out as the most plausible mechanism.
Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming
Measuring Spillovers of Venture Capital
with Monika Schnitzer, LMU Munich
We provide the first measurement of knowledge spillovers from venture capital-financed companies onto the patenting activities of other companies. On average, these spillovers are nine times larger than those generated by the R&D investment of established companies. Spillover effects are larger in complex product industries than in discrete product industries. Start-ups with experienced inventors holding a patent at the time of receiving the first round of investment produce the largest spillovers, indicating that venture capital fosters the commercialization of technologies. Methodologically, we contribute by developing a novel definition of the spillover pool, combining citation-based and technological proximity-based approaches.
The Employment Effects of Countercyclical Infrastructure Investments
with Lukas Buchheim, LMU Munich
We estimate the causal impact of a sizable German infrastructure investment program on employment at the county level. The program focused on improving the energy efficiency of school buildings, making it possible to use the number of schools as an instrument for investments. We find that the program was effective, creating one job for one year for each €25’000 of investments. The employment gains reached their peak after nine months and dropped to zero quickly after the program’s completion. The reductions in unemployment amounted to two-thirds of the job creation, and employment grew predominately in the construction and non-tradable industries.
How antitrust can spur innovation: Bell Labs and the 1956 consent decree
Is compulsory licensing an effective antitrust remedy to increase innovation? To answer this question, we analyze the 1956 consent decree which settled an antitrust lawsuit against Bell, a vertically integrated monopolist charged with foreclosing the telecommunications equipment market. Bell was forced to license all its existing patents royalty-free, including those not related to telecommunications. We show that this led to a long-lasting increase in innovation but only in markets outside the telecommunications industry. Within telecommunications, where Bell continued to exclude competitors, we find no effect. Compulsory licensing is an effective antitrust remedy only if incumbents cannot foreclose the product markets.
Disclosure and Cumulative Innovation:
Evidence from the Patent Depository Library Program
with Jeff Furman, Boston University and Markus Nagler, LMU
How important is information disclosure through patents for subsequent innovation? To answer this
question, we examine the expansion of the USPTO Patent Library system after 1975. Before the Internet,
patent libraries gave inventors access to patent documents. We find that after patent library opening, local
patenting increases by 17% relative to control regions. Additional analyses suggest that the disclosure of
technical information is the mechanism underlying this effect: inventors start to cite more distant prior
art and the effect ceases after the introduction of the Internet. Our analyses thus provide evidence that
disclosure plays an important role in cumulative innovation.