Work in Progress

  • Cartel membership and innovativeness in Interwar Germany (Presentations: BHC Miami, 2015; GSWG Münster, 2015).
  • What caused the 'crisis before the crisis' in Interwar Germany?
  • Land prices in south-west Germany during industrialization, 1868-1913.
  • Patents and innovation in the German states, 1843-1877 (with Felix Selgert; project funded by the DFG - German Research Foundation).

Working Papers

  • The Consequences of Radical Patent-Regime Change - A Natural Experiment (with Felix Selgert), 2018.

Presentations: GSWG Regensburg, 2019 (scheduled); WEHC Boston, 2018; IP Day Boston University School of Law, 2018; Workshop "Business and the Law", University of Bayreuth, 2018; EHS Keele, 2018 (by co-author); University of Hohenheim, 2018; Workshop "Patent Law and Innovation", University of Bonn, 2018; University of Mannheim, 2017.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the consequences of radical patent-regime change by exploiting a natural experiment: the compulsory and immediate adoption of the Prussian patent system in regions that Prussia annexed after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Prussia granted patents in a more restrictive way than its German neighbouring states. By using novel hand-collected data, we show that the forced adoption of the Prussian patent law caused a massive drop in the number of patents per capita in annexed territories. In the second step of our analysis, we find a positive effect of patent-law change on the number of products exhibited at world fairs, which we use as a proxy for innovation. This finding suggests that a restrictive patent law is more conducive for the generation of innovation.

Presentations: NFA Charlevoix, 2018 (by co-author); EEA Cologne, 2018; WFA Coronado (CA), 2018 (by co-author); ASSA (AEA) Philadelphia, 2018 (by co-author); SSHA Montreal, 2017; London School of Economics, 2017 (by co-author); EHA San Jose, 2017; EFA Mannheim, 2017; WCC Strasbourg, 2017; GSWG Bonn, 2017; EHS Royal Holloway, 2017; ASSA (Cliometric Society) Chicago, 2017; VfS Augsburg, 2016; CAGE/HEDG Odense, 2016; DIIE Research Symposium, 2016 (by co-author); TADC, 2016 (by co-author); London Business School, 2015 (by co-author); University of Mannheim, 2015.

Abstract: We study the impact of inclusive institutions on innovation using novel, hand-collected, county-level data for Imperial Germany. We use the timing and geography of the French occupation of different German regions after the French Revolution as an instrument for institutional quality. We find that the number of patents per capita was more than twice as high in counties with the longest occupation as in unoccupied counties. The impact of institutions on innovation is amplified in counties with a developed banking sector, suggesting that financial development and inclusive institutions are complements in the production of innovation.



Reviews in: Archiv und Wirtschaft, Francia-Recensio, H-Soz-Kult, Historische Zeitschrift, sehepunkte, The German Quarterly, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte. Media coverage: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Articles in refereed journals

Book chapters

Smaller contributions

  • Patent Law and Innovation in Europe during the Industrial Revolution (with Felix Selgert), in: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, 2019, forthcoming. (Introductory article for the special issue "Patentrecht und Innovationen in Europa während der Industriellen Revolution / Patent law and innovation in Europe during the industrial revolution".)

Book reviews