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Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

ICT, Collaboration, and Innovation: Evidence from BITNET

Wernsdorf, Kathrin; Nagler, Markus; Watzinger, Martin (2022). ICT, Collaboration, and Innovation: Evidence from BITNET Journal of Public Economics 211.

Does access to technologies that reduce information and communication costs increase innovation? We examine this question by exploiting the staggered adoption of BITNET across U.S. universities in the 1980s. BITNET, an early version of the Internet, enabled e-mail-based knowledge exchange and collaboration among academics. After the adoption of BITNET, university-connected inventors increase patenting substantially. The effects are driven by collaborative patents by new inventor teams. The patents induced by ICT are closely related to science. In contrast, we neither find an effect on patents not closely related to science nor on corporate inventors unconnected to universities.

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Also published as: CESifo Working Paper No. 8646

Also published as: Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 20-18