We develop a new distance-based test of localized knowledge spillovers that embeds the concept of control patents. Using microgeographic data, we identify localization distance for each technology class while allowing for spillovers across geographic units. We revisit the debate between Thompson and Fox-Kean (2005a, 2005b) and Henderson, Jaffe, and Trajtenberg (2005) on the existence of localized knowledge spillovers and find solid evidence supporting localization even when using finely grained controls. Unless biases induced by imperfect matching between citing and control patents due to unobserved heterogeneity are extremely large, our distance-based test detects localization for the majority of technology classes.
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© 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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