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San Francisco's Increasing Dominance Over U.S. Innovation

A new study charts the incredible growth of innovation in the Bay Area.
relates to San Francisco's Increasing Dominance Over U.S. Innovation
Alexey Yuzhakov /

There is great concern that innovation in the United States is waning, and that the country has entered into a period of prolonged secular stagnation. While innovation across America has increased at a relatively slow pace since the mid-1970s, it has seen spectacular growth in the San Francisco Bay Area.

That’s the big takeaway from a new study, which looks at the changing geography of innovation across the U.S. over the past four decades. The study—by my University of Toronto colleague Avi Goldfarb, along with Chris Forman of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Shane Greenstein of Harvard University—takes a detailed look at trends in patents (the most commonly used measure of innovation) across U.S. metros between 1976 and 2008.