Two recent studies suggest that patents have a key role to play in raising state per capita incomes and overcoming persistent poverty. A working paper published almost a year ago by two staffers of the Federal Bank of Cleveland and professor Scott Shane of Case Western University, suggests that patents and high school/university graduation rates are the most important determinants of per state capita income. A more recent study by researchers at the Univ. of Kentucky's Center for Business and Economic Research reaffirmed the Case Western's findings. (Reported in the SSTI Weekly Digest.)
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.