James Bessen

James Bessen


Executive Director, Technology & Policy Research Initiative
Director and Founder, Research on Innovation

AB, Harvard College

Areas of Interest
Economics & Law, Intellectual Property

James Bessen, an economist, serves as Executive Director of the Technology & Policy Research Initiative at Boston University School of Law. Mr. Bessen has done research on whether patents promote innovation, why innovators share new knowledge, and how technology affects jobs, skills, and wages. With Michael J. Meurer, Bessen wrote Patent Failure (Princeton University Press, 2008), highlighting the problems caused by poorly defined property rights. His research first documented the large economic damage caused by patent trolls and showed the link between information technology and job growth. His latest book, Learning by Doing: The Real Connection Between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth (Yale University Press, 2015), looks at history to understand how new technologies affect wages and skills today. Bessen’s work has been widely cited in the press as well as by the White House, the US Supreme Court, judges at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Federal Trade Commission. In 1983, Bessen developed the first commercially successful “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” PC publishing program, founding a company that delivered PC-based publishing systems to high-end commercial publishers.

  1. James Bessen, "How big technology systems are slowing innovation," MIT Technology Review (Feb. 17, 2022).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  2. James Bessen, The New Goliaths: How Corporations Use Software to Dominate Industries, Kill Innovation, and Undermine Regulation, Yale University Press (forthcoming).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  3. James Bessen, "Billion-dollar blueprints: A new way of understanding the high but elusive worth of intellectual property," The Economist (Dec. 4, 2021).
    Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  4. Unlocking Frontier Technology: The Policy Challenge of the Digital Economy, The Progressive Policy Institute, (May 6, 2021).
    Publisher | Publisher | Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  5. James Bessen, "Information Technology and Industry Concentration," 63 Journal of Law & Economics 531 (2020).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  6. James Bessen, "The Policy Challenge of Artificial Intelligence," Spring 2018 CPI Antitrust Chronicle (2018).
    SSRN | Publisher | Scholarly Commons
  7. James Bessen, "AI and Jobs: The Role of Demand," Boston University School of Law Law & Economics Paper Series (2017).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  8. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, "The Direct Costs from NPE Disputes," 99 Cornell Law Review 387 (2014).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
  9. James Bessen & Brian Love, "Make the Patent “Polluters” Pay: Using Pigovian Fees to Curb Patent Abuse," 4 California Law Review Circuit 84 (2013).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  10. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, "The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls," 34:4 Regulation 26 (2011-12).
    SSRN | Scholarly Commons
  11. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, Princeton University Press (2008).
  12. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, "What's Wrong with the Patent System? Fuzzy Boundaries and the Patent Tax," 12:6 First Monday (2007).
  13. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, "Patent Litigation with Endogenous Disputes," 96 American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings 77 (2006).
  14. Michael Meurer & James Bessen, "Lessons for Patent Policy from Empirical Research on Patent Litigation," 9 Lewis and Clark Law Review 1 (2005). Reprinted in Intellectual Property and Information Wealth: Issues and Practices in the Digital Age, Peter K. Yu, ed., Praeger (2007).
    Westlaw | SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline | Scholarly Commons
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