ISR Awards

Long Term Costs of Macroeconomic Instability: The Destruction of Innovative Networks in Cleveland, Ohio, 1920-1940

This project examines the impact of macroeconomic shocks on technological discovery through analysis of the organization and financing of innovation in Cleveland, Ohio. Turn-of-the-century Cleveland was a center of innovation and entrepreneurship in wide range of ?Second Industrial Revolution? industries. Innovative firms functioned as hubs in networks that linked inventors to local capitalists. These networks did not survive the Great Depression. We use a dataset of inventors and firms that we created from patent, Census, and bank records, city directories, credit reports, and manuscript collections to investigate alternative explanations of this change in the rate and organization of innovative activity. We consider the effects of regional and industry life cycles, changes in firm organization and market structure, and shocks to the financial system.