The National Bureau of Economic Research has profiled the research of Zorina Khan, professor of economics at Bowdoin, who writes on law and economic history, including intellectual property rights, technological progress in Europe and the United States, antitrust, litigation and legal systems, and corporate governance. She is also a research associate with NBER’s Development of the American Economy Program.
The NBER Reporter features Khan’s research on “Enterprise and Incentives for Innovation.” In the article, Khan sheds light on the ways institutions in Europe and the United States spurred and promoted enterprise, knowledge, and innovation during industrialization, from 1750 to 1930. She discusses patents, innovation prizes, and enterprise and family networks.
In this last category, Khan writes, “Some scholars regard familial connections as inefficient, with potential both for corruption and for exploitation of unrelated shareholders. My results support a more positive interpretation of such personalized relationships in enterprise and innovation.”
In summary, Khan explains that her research results “highlight the central role of market-oriented incentives, in tandem with open-access economic and legal institutions, in promoting technological progress and social welfare.”