The USPTO has a new Office of the Chief Economist and they have recently published their research agenda.
USPTO Economic Research Agenda
The OCE is embarking upon an aggressive economic research program to provide evidence on a range of matters relevant to policymaking and the effect of IP on economic outcomes more generally. These include:
(1) Relating IP to economic growth, performance and employment, including:
(a) IP and entrepreneurship
(b) IP and wider economy-wide growth.
(2) IP in de facto standards, standard setting, and standards policy.
(3) Researching the economics of trademarks and trademark examination.
(4) Understanding the economics of USPTO initiatives, including initiatives to reduce application backlogs, by better understanding their costs, benefits, and effects.
(5) Analyzing the role that IP plays in the markets for technology and knowledge
For more specifics from the PTO website click here.