The Economics Discipline

About the discipline and academic life


Innovation Economics

Interview with Peter Swann (Nottingham University Business School Emeritus) on why economic research on innovation matters [Link]


Two standard books on innovation economics:

      • Suzanne Scotchmer's excellent 2004 'Innovation and Incentives', still the academic reference book; and
      • Christine Greenhalgh & Mark Rogers' 2010 'Innovation, IP, and Economic Growth'; a bit more recent, a bit more textbook, obviously also including growth.

Great literature reviews provided by Edward Egan (now at Rice U):

      • Innovation; Innovation Models; Technology Dynamics and Firm Strategy
      • SIMIAN: (now completed) project on developing computer simulation models of innovation; resulted in the very interesting book on the use of and results from simulation techniques in innovation research by Christopher Watts and Nigel Gilbert. Simulation code covered in the book can be downloaded (for Excel and NetLogo). [Link]


      • The European Commission's webpages on Growth. [Link]
      • "The Innovation Policy Platform" gives an overview of current topics in innovation policy, sorted by a wide variety of categories, as well as country reports and worldwide innovation statistics, also referring to resources beyond the OECD and the World Bank who have developed this site. [Link]

Some blogs:

      • Research on Innovation (by James Bessen) [Link]
      • Nesta [Link]
      • Bruegel Blog (choose "Innovation & Competition Policy" in the filter) [Link]

Research centers around the world:

      • Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics, Copenhagen Business School [Link]
      • Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, KU Leuven [Link]
      • Searle Center, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Chicago [Link]

Intellectual Property Economics

  • Introduction:
    • UPenn's Polk Wagner is offering a series of courses on (US) IP Law and Policy at edX. The first course is about US patent law [archived here], the second course focuses on copyright and trademark laws. [Link]
    • Glossary of patent law terms (Wikipedia) [Link]
    • Collection of links providing an introduction into the various areas of IPR by Andrew Beckerman-Rodau (Suffolk U) [Link]
    • Online courses on IP (and management) by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, with a focus on trademarks and designs (since for patents we have the European Patent Office). [Link] The "General IP Knowledge" section also covers trade secrets. [Link]
  • Literature:
    • Some OECD publications including reviews of the academic literature on innovation and intellectual property:
      • Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact [Link]
      • OECD Patent Statistics Manual [Link]
    • WIPO maintains a database that helps to identify (seminal) works of the economic literature on IP topics. [Link]
  • Patents:
    • If you want to do in-depth research on patenting, there is no (reasonable) way around getting an understanding of what applicants actually (have to) do. A starting point can be the USPTO's Patent Application Filing Guide. [Link]
    • WIPO regularly offers "National Patent Drafting Course"s, the material of some of which is publicly downloadable. Most of it is applicable outside of the host countries. [Link, Link, Link]
    • An important note on improvement patents: "There is a common misconception that obtaining a patent gives the right to practice the patented invention." (by Arnold B. Silverman) [Link]
  • Trade Secrets:
    • The WIPO FAQ on trade secrets [Link]
    • WIPO gives an introduction into IP (strategy) for small businesses [Link]
    • and explains when and how relying on trade secrets makes sense [Link, Link, Link]
    • Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information by the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog [Link]
  • Keeping up with developments in IP:
    • The Economist provides a subpage on IP. [Link]
    • Blog collection on intellectual property:
    • many of the legal discussions about IP are not overly relevant for economists, but it pays to skim the blogs from time to time to get an idea of important developments
      • DeltaPatents: [Link]
      • Patent Blog by the European Patent Lawyers Association [Link]
      • The IPKat: combines comments on current IP issues with cat content. Seriously. [Link]
      • K's Law: "Extracts from Recently Published Decisions of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO" [Link]
      • PatLit: the patent litigation weblog [Link]
      • Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog by Epstein Becker Green [Link]
  • Policy:
    • The European Commission's webpages on IP. [Link]
    • IPR in TTIP Negotiations by the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog [Link]
    • Some resources provided by WIPO:
      • A nice illustration of the most important technological advancements during the past 200 years. [Link]
      • A list and further information of current hot topics in patent law. [Link]
    • The WTO provides a similar page with hot topics, [Link] and additionally on the TRIPS agreement [Link].
  • Legal IP regimes around the world:
    • World Map detailing each country's membership of patent treaties and organisations and how to get information about the country's patents. [Link]
    • Selected Latin American countries 2016 (by the "Latin Lawyer") [Link]

On the state of the economic science

  • The 100 Most Influential Twitter Economists. [Link]
  • The 2015 discussion about "Mathiness", provoked by a grumpy Paul Romer, at a glance. [Link]
  • Romer's arguments can apparently be applied to Empirics as well. [Link]
  • The problem with Behavioural Economics focussing on "expanding" mainstream economics. [Link]
  • Not Economics, but I would love to create this results diagram for economic studies at some point: "why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study". [Link]
  • Noah Smith on the importance of distinguishing the terms "economist" and "macroeconomist" [Link]

Academia and universities

  • Most university rankings take undergraduate experience, graduate placement etc. into account. Two rankings are based exclusively on research output: the RePEc/IDEAS rankings, based on research output covered by RePEc [Link], and the "Tilburg University Top 100 of Economics Schools Research Ranking". [Link] Both allow to modify the ranking considering only particular subfields of economics.
  • In praise of the research university: why an institution's research matters even for Undergraduates [Link]
  • Competitive pressure in academia gotten out of hand [Link]
  • "Workload survival guide for academics: Advice on how to cope with all the work and when to say no to opportunities" (Times Higher Education) [Link]

Random Stuff

  • The Daily Routines of Famous People, for inspiration or depression [Link]
  • Econlolcats [Link]
  • Daron Acemoglu Facts [Link] (and why Daron makes undertaking research hopeless for the rest of us [Link] )
  • Photos of Economists [Link]
  • Research in Progress [Link]
  • Transform any text into a patent application [Link]