Patenting and Innovation in China

Incentives, Policy, and Outcomes

by Eric Warner

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China has undergone a patenting boom, with yearly increases in patent applications averaging 34 percent. Since 2000 this has resulted in a 16-fold increase in the annual number of patents and according to the United Nations, China's patent office has received more patent filings than any other country (UN December 11, 2012). Previous literature indicates that this trend is driven by large volumes of low-quality patents. Given this, I was motivated to understand the drivers of this trend, the impact of patenting-promoting policies, and the innovative outcomes of Chinese firms. This dissertation examines these three questions in three separate essays: (1) What are the drivers of this patenting boom, and what implications exist for Chinese technical innovation? (2) What are the innovative impacts of the Indigenous Innovation Policy, which is designed to promote patenting? (3) How innovative are leading Chinese firms?

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    The Chinese patent boom — Incentives and Implications

  • Chapter Two

    Do Indigenous Innovation Policies Work? Evidence from China

  • Chapter Three

    Measuring Innovation: How Innovative are Leading Chinese Firms?

  • Appendix

    Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves and Optimal Coefficients

  • Appendix B

    Name Harmonization and Firm Identification

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in November 2014 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Charles Wolf, Jr. (Chair), Shanthi Nataraj, and Christopher Eusebi.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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