Debates · Economics · Politics

James Bessen

“Don’t blame technology for persistent unemployment. A more likely culprit is the move to austerity in economic policy.”

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James Bessen is an economist who studies technology and innovation policy. He has also been a successful innovator and CEO of a software company.

Currently, Bessen is a Lecturer in Law at the Boston University School of Law, where he heads a research project studying the impact of technology on the workforce and policy responses. This research has estimated how computer automation is affecting jobs and wages. Bessen’s book, Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth, looks at history to understand how new technologies affect wages and skills today.

Prior research on innovation and patents includes the book, Patent Failure, written with Michael Meurer. In this book, Bessen first documented the large economic damage caused by patent trolls; has been widely cited in the press as well as by the White House, the U.S. 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.

Participation in CDI:

  • 2016

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