James Bessen

James Bessen

Scholar Title:

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

Department: School of Law

Colleges / Universities: Boston University


765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Email: jbessen@bu.edu

James Bessen is Lecturer in Law at the Boston University School of Law. His studies focus on the economics of innovation and patents; he has done research on whether patents promote innovation, why innovators share new knowledge, and how technology affects jobs, skills, and wages. Mr. Bessen serves as Executive Director of the Technology & Policy Research Initiative at Boston University School of Law; and he is Director and Founder of Research on Innovation.

Mr. Bessen’s 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. With Michael J. Meurer, Mr. Bessen wrote Patent Failure (Princeton University Press, 2008), which highlights the problems caused by poorly defined property rights (“patent notice”). Mr. 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, Mr. 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. Intergraph Corporation acquired the company in 1993.


A.B. Harvard College, 1972