Family, Home, and Social Sciences
First Faculty Advisor
Dr. Riley E. Wilson
First Faculty Reader
Dr. Joseph C. McMurray
Dr. John E. Stovall
economics, R&D, patents, patent citations, NASA, public sector R&D
This paper examines the question of what impact federal R&D spending has on patent registration and future technological innovation. Because the causal relationship between federal R&D and patent grants is difficult to determine given aggregate trends and endogeneity, I use the sharp changes in NASA R&D funding between 1959 and 1975 as an interrupted time series. These unique circumstances, caused by the Space Race, make this time period a valuable event study in which to consider the impact of federal R&D. 1,996 unique patents granted to NASA and NASA-affiliates are considered, as well as an additional 19,845 unique patents which cite one or more of the original NASA patents. Regressing data from this interrupted time series, I find a significant and positive impact of NASA R&D appropriations on patent grants from 1959 to 1975, as well as on future innovation in both the public and private sector.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Davis, Jack, "Evaluating the Impact of Federal R&D Spending on Patent Registration: A Nasa Case Study" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 69.