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CentrePiece article
Is Distance Dying at Last?
Rachel Griffith, Sokbae Lee and John Van Reenen
February 2008
Paper No' CEPCP240:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 12 (3) Winter 2008

Economists have long been sceptical of claims about the 'death of distance' - the idea that new technology has diminished the significance of geography for economic outcomes. Research by Sokbae Lee, Rachel Griffith and John Van Reenen, which looks at patent citations over a quarter of a century, finds the first hard evidence that distance is indeed becoming less important.

Their study finds that measured by the relative speed of patent citations over time, the flow of ideas between countries is getting quicker. If new ideas are benefiting other countries more quickly, it may make less sense to subsidise corporate R&D.

This article summarises Is Distance Dying at Last? Falling Home Bias in Fixed Effects Models of Patent Citations by Rachel Griffith, Sokbae Lee and John Van Reenen, CEP Discussion Paper No. 818