Executive Director, Technology & Policy Research Initiative, Boston University School of Law
James Bessen, an economist, serves as Executive Director of the Technology & Policy Research Initiative at the 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 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 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.