Essays on Innovation, Patents, and Econometrics
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This thesis investigates the impact of fragmentation in the ownership of complementary patents or patent thickets on firms' market value. This question is motivated by the increase in the patent ownership fragmentation following the pro-patent shifts in the US since 1982. The first chapter uses panel data on patenting US manufacturing firms from 1979 to 1996, and estimates the impact of patent thickets on firms' market value. I find that patent thickets lower firms' market value, and firms with a large patent portfolio size experience a smaller negative effect from their thickets. Moreover, no systematic difference exists in the impact of patent thickets on firms' market value over time. The second chapter extends this analysis to account for the indirect impacts of patent thickets on firms' market value. These indirect effects arise through the effects of patent thickets on firms' R\&D and patenting activities. Using panel data on US manufacturing firms from 1979 to 1996, I estimate the impact of patent thickets on market value, R\&D, and patenting as well as the impacts of R\&D and patenting on market value. Employing these estimates, I determine the direct, indirect, and total impacts of patent thickets on market value. I find that patent thickets decrease firms' market value, while I hold the firms’ R\&D and patenting activities constant. I find no evidence of a change in R\&D due to patent thickets. However, there is evidence of defensive patenting (an increase in patenting attributed to thickets), which helps to reduce the direct negative impact of patent thickets on market value. The data sets used in Chapters 1 and 2 have a number of missing observations on regressors. The commonly used methods to manage missing observations are the listwise deletion (complete case) and the indicator methods. Studies on the statistical properties of these methods suggest a smaller bias using the listwise deletion method. Employing Monte Carlo simulations, Chapter 3 examines the properties of these methods, and finds that in some cases the listwise deletion estimates have larger biases than indicator estimates. This finding suggests that interpreting estimates arrived at with either approach requires caution.