nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2006‒09‒30
four papers chosen by
Roberto Fontana
Universita Bocconi

  1. Climbing Atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research By Jeffrey L. Furman; Scott Stern
  2. What do we know about Firms’ Research Collaboration with Universities? New Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence By Broström, Anders; Lööf, Hans
  3. Managing Risk and Synergies R&D-Collaborations By Mahnke, Volker; Overby, Mikkel Lucas
  4. Creating First-Mover Advantages: The Case of Samsung Electronics By Jang-Sup SHIN; Sung-Won JANG

  1. By: Jeffrey L. Furman; Scott Stern
    Abstract: While the cumulative nature of knowledge is recognized as central to economic growth, the microeconomic foundations of cumulativeness are less understood. This paper investigates the impact of a research-enhancing institution on cumulativeness, highlighting two effects. First, a selection effect may result in a high correlation between “high-quality†institutions and knowledge of high intrinsic quality. Second, an institution may have a marginal impact – an incremental influence on cumulativeness, conditional on the type and quality of knowledge considered. This paper distinguishes these effects in the context of a specific institution, biological resource centers (BRCs). BRCs are “living libraries†that authenticate, preserve, and offer independent access to biological materials, such as cells, cultures, and specimens. BRCs may enhance the cumulativeness of knowledge by reducing the marginal cost to researchers of drawing on prior research efforts. We exploit three key aspects of the environment in which BRCs operate to evaluate how they affect the cumulativeness of knowledge: (a) the impact of scientific knowledge is reflected in future scientific citations, (b) deposit into BRCs often occurs with a substantial lag after initial research is completed and published, and (c) “lagged†deposits often result from shocks unrelated to the characteristics of the materials themselves. Employing a difference-in-differences estimator linking specific materials deposits to journal articles, we find evidence for both selection effects and the marginal impact of BRCs on the cumulativeness of knowledge associated with deposited materials. Moreover, the marginal impact increases with time and varies with the economic and institutional conditions in which deposit occurs.
    JEL: H4 L3 O3 O33
    Date: 2006–09
  2. By: Broström, Anders (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); Lööf, Hans (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: This chapter provides an integrated view of knowledge transfer between university and industry by combining two different approaches. First, we report results from an econometric analysis, where recent matching techniques are used on a dataset of 2,071 Swedish firms. Our findings from this analysis strongly suggest that university collaboration has a positive influence on the innovative activity of large manufacturing firms. In contrast, there appears to be an insignificant association between university collaboration and the average service firm’s innovation output. Second, in the pursuit of credible explanations for these findings, we apply a semi-structured interview methodology on 39 randomly selected firms collaborating with two research universities in Stockholm, Sweden. We identify three ideas for how collaboration may help firms become more innovative in the literature of innovation studies. In analysis of the interviews, we find very weak support for the first idea; that firms are able to exploit and market innovations originating in the university. The second idea – that firms improve their internal innovative capability by collaboration – is found to apply to about half of the investigated firms. Innovation efficiency gains in the form of reduced cost and risk for innovation projects, which is a third idea suggested by the literature, are also suggested to be a major factor behind firms’ benefits. Finally, we offer tentative explanations for the lack of measurable effects of collaboration for service firms.
    Keywords: University-Industry Link; Innovation; Technology transfer; R&D; Research collaboration
    JEL: C10 I23 O31 O33
    Date: 2006–08–28
  3. By: Mahnke, Volker (Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School); Overby, Mikkel Lucas (Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: Many companies in the cross section of telecommunication and mobile technology engage in R&D collaborations to manage uncertainty, create synergies and learn. While the challenges of managing individual collaborations are well documented, little is known on how to systematically manage several R&D collaborations simultaneously. We use modern portfolio theory as an analogy to show how companies active in mobile telecommunication manage risks and create synergies by simultaneously engaging in several inter-firm collaborations.
    Keywords: Portfolio theory; risk; synergy; R&D collaboration; mobile commerce
    JEL: O30
    Date: 2006–09–19
  4. By: Jang-Sup SHIN (Department of Economics, National University of Singapore); Sung-Won JANG (Samsung Economic Research Institute)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the sources of first-mover advantages by examining the case of Samsung Electronics, a firm which has maintained and strengthened the technological leadership in the DRAM industry since 1992. The focus is on endogeneity of first-mover advantages under changing technological and competitive environments, part of which are also shaped by the technology leader. The paper also discusses general implications of this case study for strategy and organization for innovation.
    Keywords: First-mover advantages, innovation, firm growth, Samsung Electronics, semiconductors

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