NBER

Parker Rogers

Department of Economics
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive #0508
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States
Tel: 3852079799

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California at San Diego

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2020Demand Shocks, Procurement Policies, and the Nature of Medical Innovation: Evidence from Wartime Prosthetic Device Patents
with Jeffrey Clemens: w26679
We analyze wartime prosthetic device patents to investigate how procurement policy affects the cost, quality, and quantity of medical innovation. Analyzing whether inventions emphasize cost and/or quality requires generating new data. We do this by first hand-coding the economic traits emphasized in 1,200 patent documents. We then train a machine learning algorithm and apply the trained models to a century's worth of medical and mechanical patents that form our analysis sample. In our analysis of these new data, we find that the relatively stingy, fixed-price contracts of the Civil War era led inventors to focus broadly on reducing costs, while the less cost-conscious procurement contracts of World War I did not. We provide a conceptual framework that highlights the economic forces th...

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