The Effect of Patent Laws on Economic Growth: Evidence from Cross-Country Panels during 1600-1913

Qiang Chen

There has been surprisingly little empirical study about the effect of patent laws per se on economic growth. Using a historical panel data of the US and 14 Western European countries during 1600-1913, we estimate a significant positive effect of patent laws on economic growth in different specifications of fixed effects, random effects, time effects, dynamic panel GMM and differences-in-differences models. The results are robust to inclusion of “constraint on executive”, exclusion of the UK and US, and using urbanization ratio as a proxy for GDP per capita.