|Institutions||Professor of Economics Minnesota University (1957-67)
Instructor Pennsylvania University (1946-51)
Assistant Professor Michigan State University (1951-57)
|Alma mater||BA Temple University (1940)
PhD Pennsylvania University (1951)
Made contributions to the demand-induced technological innovation and the logic of inter-industry technology flows.
Jacob Schmookler was the first economist successfully to explore statistically the economics of technological innovation at a detailed industry level. He crystallized the notion of endogenous technological change and its influence on economic growth two decades before the concept was reinvented by macro economists. Most of his key findings are brought together in his 1966 book. The underlying data and an extension of work in progress at the time of his death are in a 1972 book.
Before Schmookler made his contributions, the conventional wisdom in economics was that technological innovations were supply-side driven, for example, as advances in knowledge opened up new opportunities for profitable invention and innovation. Through the extensive analysis of time series and cross-sectional patent data and historical case studies, Schmookler demonstrated that demand-pull influences were also important: the more intense the demand, the more creative groups and individuals were drawn to work on an unsolved problem and more patentable inventions they generated.
Struggling during the early 1960s to reconcile the conflicting knowledge-push and demand-pull hypothesis, Schmookler argued that both could be important, just as (following to Alfred Marshall) it takes two blades of a scissors to cut a paper. He hypothesized that superior command over relevant areas of knowledge, for example, specialization in chemistry, electronics, or machine construction determined the industry locus of work to satisfy unmet demands; the demand itself might be found in a quite different industry.
- Jong, Henry W. De; William G. Shepherd (2007). Pioneers of Industrial Organization: How the Economics of Competition and Monopoly Took Shape. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 1-84376-434-2.