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Structural holes, innovation and the distribution of ideas

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  • Robin Cowan

    ()

  • Nicolas Jonard

Abstract

We model knowledge diffusion in a population of agents situated on a network, interacting only over direct ties. Some agents are by nature traders, others are by nature "givers": traders demand a quid pro quo for information transfer; givers do not. We are interested in efficiency of diffusion and explore the interplay between the structure of the population (proportion of traders), the network structure (clustering, path length and degree distribution), and the scarcity of knowledge. We find that at the global level, trading (as opposed to giving) reduces efficiency. At the individual level, highly connected agents do well when knowledge is scarce, agents in clustered neighbourhoods do well when it is abundant. The latter finding is connected to the debate on structural holes and social capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination.

Volume (Year): 2 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 93-110

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jeicoo:v:2:y:2007:i:2:p:93-110

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/economic+theory/journal/11403

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References

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  1. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  2. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2004. "Network structure and the diffusion of knowledge," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1557-1575, June.
  3. Werker, C. & Brenner, T., 2004. "Empirical calibration of simulation models," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 04.13, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  4. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cowan,Robin & Jonard,Nicolas, 2000. "The Dynamics of Collective Invention," Research Memorandum 018, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  6. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  7. Maryann Feldman, 1999. "The New Economics Of Innovation, Spillovers And Agglomeration: Areview Of Empirical Studies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 5-25.
  8. von Hippel, Eric, 1987. "Cooperation between rivals: Informal know-how trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 291-302, December.
  9. Schrader, Stephan, 1991. "Informal technology transfer between firms: Cooperation through information trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-170, April.
  10. Joel A. C. Baum & Andrew V. Shipilov & Tim J. Rowley, 2003. "Where do small worlds come from?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 697-725, August.
  11. Granstrand, Ove & Sjolander, Soren, 1990. "Managing innovation in multi-technology corporations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 35-60, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Cantner, Uwe & Rake, Bastian, 2014. "International research networks in pharmaceuticals: Structure and dynamics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 333-348.
  2. Mauro Napoletano & Stefano Battiston & Michael D König & Frank Schweitzer, 2008. "The Efficiency and Evolution of R&D Networks," Sciences Po publications 08/95, Sciences Po.
  3. Mauro Napoletano & Stefano Battiston & Michael D König & Frank Schweitzer, 2008. "The efficiency and evolution of R&D Networks," Sciences Po publications 2008-31, Sciences Po.
  4. König, Michael D. & Battiston, S. & Napoletano, M. & Schweitzer, F., 2011. "Recombinant knowledge and the evolution of innovation networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 145-164, August.
  5. Michael D. König & tefano Battiston & Mauro Napoletano & Frank Schweitzer, 2008. "The efficiency and evolution of R&D Networks," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-31, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  6. Mauro Napoletano & Stefano Battiston & Michael D König & Frank Schweitzer, 2008. "The efficiency and evolution of R&D Networks," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9933, Sciences Po.
  7. Cilem Selin Hazir, 2011. "Conceptualizing the Role of Geographical Proximity in Project Based R&D Networks: A Literature Survey," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1616, European Regional Science Association.

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