Teaching and Research Interests
- Technological Innovation
- Spatial Statistics and Econometrics
- Social Network Analysis
- Green Technologies & Energy Innovation
- Ph.D. (2004) Regional Science, Cornell University
- M.S. (1999) Regional Science, Cornell University
- B.S. (1996) Economics, University of Southern Maine
I have a long standing interest in how the innumerable characteristics—socio-economic, technological, political, institutional, organizational and cultural—of metropolitan areas interact to foster invention and innovation, thereby sustaining long run economic growth. Over the past several years I have pursued a variety of research questions related to invention and innovation in metropolitan areas using patent data.
A current area of my research is regarding innovation in sustainable technologies. It is often assumed that if enough resources are invested in innovation, then significant, even catastrophic, environmental disasters can be averted and challenges overcome with little change in income or lifestyles. However, like almost all economic phenomena investments in innovation reveal decreasing marginal returns to productivity. The implication being that no level of investment maybe large enough to overcome the environmental challenges we confront, at least not with in a relevant period of time. My current work involves the construction of a “Green Technologies” patent database and calibration and of the marginal returns from investments in these technology areas over time in collaboration with colleagues in the environmental sciences.
In my research for Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation I am constructing industry specific, metropolitan rates of establishment birth, establishment death, job creation and job destruction using the National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database, and calibrating those rates to Business Information Tracking Series (BITS) and the Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS). Using the NETS data base and a US Patent data base, I am constructing a concordance between USPTO technology codes and Census NAIC codes. This is partially based on firm level matching between establishment level NETS data and the USPTO data. The creation of this data allows for exploration of establishment level innovation on firm growth and survival rates.
Another active area of research using US and EPOLINE (non-US patents) patent data is the mobility of inventors. It has become a common place assumption that the economic well-being of regions and cities depends on a location’s ability to attract highly-skilled and creative individuals. We frequently observe the movement of these individuals across firms, regions, cities and countries. This mobility entails a positive externality, since not only do the moving inventors get exposure to new people and thus new ideas, but also their new colleagues get exposed as well, similarly benefiting. Knowledge worker mobility is thus a mechanism for bringing about knowledge spillovers. Questions remain, such as why do inventors move? What economic rationale underlies their mobility? What are the consequences of their moving for the individual, for firms, and for the regional or urban economy? Do these spillovers actually affect productivity? Are knowledge workers concentrating in fewer and fewer super-innovative cities? Mobility and spatial concentration have long run consequences for income and development across cities and nations.
Other areas of active research:
- Department of Energy SEEDS Grant on Photovolatics
- Urban Dynamics working group at the Santa Fe Institute.