I work on issues related to technological change and innovation. Most recent research projects study the emergence and spatial concentration of complex technologies using historical data on patent activity and the distributional impact of the emergence and diffusion of disruptive technologies.

Work in Progress

Disruptive Innovation and Uneven Regional Economic Development  (with  Tom Kemeny and Michael Storper)


This paper explores the connections between the emergence and di usion of major, disruptive technologies and shifting patterns of regional economic development. We investigate this relationship in the empirical setting of the United States across two industrial revolutions. We identify disruptive innovations, leveraging long-run patent data between 1920 and 2010 to assign these innovations to speci c locations. We detect three important relationships. First, disruptive technologies concentrate in a limited number of regions during peak periods in which these key technologies reshape the wider economy. Second, waves of disruptive innovation reshape the ranks of locations that sit atop the hierarchy of technological leadership. Third, across both revolutions, disruptive innovation is associated with regionally uneven development. Taken together, these results are consistent with the idea that disruptive innovation plays an important role in regulating patterns of uneven regional development.

Migration and Invention in the Age of Mass Migration  (with  Dario Diodato and Andrea Morrison)


More than 30 million people migrated to the US between late-ninetieth- and earlytwentieth- century, and thousands became inventors. Drawing on a novel dataset of immigrant inventors in the US, we assess the city-level impact of immigrants’ patenting and their contribution to the technological specialization of the receiving US regions between 1870 and 1940. Our results show that native inventors benefited from the inventive activity of immigrants. In addition, we show that the knowledge transferred by immigrants gave rise to new and previously not exiting technological fields in the US regions where immigrants moved to.