This paper describes the results of an inquiry into appropriability conditions in more than one hundred manufacturing industries. We discuss how this information has been and might be used to cast light on important issues in the economics of innovation and public policy. Our data, derived from a survey of high-level R&D executives, are informed opinions about an industry’s technological and economic environment rather than quantitative measures of inputs and outputs.
This line of inquiry has shown, among other results, that industries vary significantly in the average number of patents generated by each dollar of R&D investment. Our findings on industry differences in patent effectiveness may help explain this variation in the apparent productivity of R&D.