Financing Innovation or Speculation, the Case of Cleveland

From the collection Economics of Innovation


Did you know that around 1920 Cleveland, Ohio, had a technological cutting edge not unlike Silicon Valley today? Probably you didn’t, because Cleveland lost its edge during the Great Depression, and its innovation networks were never heard of again. Margaret Levenstein tells the story how, in the late 1920s, local investors who used to fund local inventors started speculating in New York instead, and the innovation networks broke down. This is not a story only about Cleveland, Ohio. This is painstaking research yielding a unique relational database to answer questions about the long-term costs of macroeconomic instability — this is new economic thinking.

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