Complexity and the productivity of innovation

Deborah Strumsky, Jose Lobo, Joseph A. Tainter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Innovation underpins the industrial way of life. It is assumed implicitly both that it will continue to do so, and that it will produce solutions to the problems we face involving climate and resources. These assumptions underlie the thinking of many economists and the political leaders whom they influence. Such a view assumes that innovation in the future will be as productive as it has been in the recent past. To test whether this is likely to be so, we investigate the productivity of innovation in the United States using data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The results suggest that the conventional optimistic view may be unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-509
Number of pages14
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Complexity
  • Economic theory
  • History of science
  • Innovation
  • Patents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management


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