Patent places: Size matters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


In this paper I investigate the United States urban system of technical advance by analysis of metropolitan patent data. Residents of metropolitan areas obtain most of the patents awarded to Americans and the largest areas predominate, signifying that urbanization externalities facilitate invention. The advantages of large areas arise from lopsided concentrations of technologically intensive manufacturing and an uneven distribution of well-educated people. Location with respect to the traditional manufacturing belt also plays a role. Metropolitan residents in the manufacturing belt remain the most industrious inventors. The contribution of leading educational and research institutions to technical advance is manifest in small urban centers and outside the traditional manufacturing belt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-636
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Regional Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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