James Bessen studies the economics of innovation and patents. He is recognized as an innovator in the electronic publishing industry, having developed one of the first commercially successful desktop publishing programs. As an economics researcher, a former software developer and CEO, he brings a unique perspective to the study of innovation.
Jim is Lecturer in Law at Boston University School of Law, where he does research on the economics of technological innovation, including patents and Free/Open Source Software. He is also a Fellow at the Berkman Center on Internet and Society at Harvard University. In his research, he has focused on whether patents promote innovation, how and why innovators share new knowledge, and on how firms developed new skills and technical knowledge during the Industrial Revolution. He is frequently called upon by the media for comment on patent issues.
Jim is the author of Learning by Doing, in which he explores the relationship between technology, skills, and economic inequality. Published by Yale University Press, it was praised as “a fresh reading of history” by Tamar Jacoby, writing in the Wall Street Journal. His previous book, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, written with Michael J. Meurer, was published by Princeton University Press.