Pirates and Patents: An Economic History of Innovation in Europe and the United States

Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: 
211 Dickinson Hall
Audience: 
Princeton faculty and students
Speaker(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy & Finance
EHW Workshop, History Department
Center for Collaborative History

Patents are intended to encourage innovation and accelerate economic growth. Yet, throughout history many countries have opted against patents during their most critical phase of development, often blatantly pirating foreign technologies. Professor Petra Moser examines the economic history of piracy and patents in Europe and the United States to investigate how the “best” system of patent laws changes with a country’s levels of industrialization.

Moser is an Associate Professor of Economics and the Jules I. Backman Faculty Fellow at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Professor Moser’s research combines methods from empirical microeconomics and economic history to examine the determinants of creativity and innovation. She uses historical variation in patent and copyright laws to examine the effects of intellectual property on science, technological innovation and artistic creativity. Her research also investigates the impact of immigrants on US innovation and examines the biological underpinnings of individual-level differences in entrepreneurship and creativity. She has received an NSF CAREER grant and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS).


The Economic History Workshop (EHW) is a monthly seminar series for Princeton students and faculty interested in the study of economic history. Co-sponsored by the Center for Collaborative History and the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy & Finance, the workshop provides a forum for scholars to present their findings and receive feedback on their research in a wide array of subfields, such as financial, business, labor, legal, intellectual, technological, and social history. Open to faculty, scholars, and students of Princeton University, Rutgers University, and the Institute for Advanced Study.