Knowledge and Space in Economic History: Innovations in the German Empire, 1877–1918

  • Jochen Streb
  • Nicole Waidlein
Part of the Knowledge and Space book series (KNAS, volume 5)


Analyzing a new data set of 39,343 high-value patents, the authors find ample evidence that interindustry knowledge spillover between technologically, economically, and geographically related industries were a major source of innovative activities during German industrialization. It is discovered that most of the parallel patent booms of the successive waves of technological progress (railroads, dyes, chemicals, and electrical engineering) occurred in innovative industries that were closely related technologically. The authors then show that these industries were often also geographically clustered. Nearly all German regions that maintained or improved their above-average innovativeness over time had at least one innovative cluster in the fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or chemicals. The existence and success of these innovative clusters suggest that knowledge spillover between firms of different industries occurred frequently and increased the innovative output of the firms involved.


Electrical Engineering Knowledge Spillover Patent Activity Related Industry German Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Department of Economic and Social HistoryUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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