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"Cross-firm" Inventors and Social Networks: Localized Knowledge Spillovers Revisited

In: Contributions in Memory of Zvi Griliches

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  • Stefano Breschi
  • Francesco Lissoni

Abstract

The paper explores the role of inventors' mobility and social networks in generating localized knowledge flows. Using a sample of Italian inventors, we replicate Jaffe's, Trajtenberg's, and Henderson's [1993] test on patent citations and find similar results. We then control for the role of "cross-firm inventors" (inventors who move across, or do research for different companies), who generate personal self-citations and help creating social links across companies by entering various teams of inventors, which in turn will cite each others' patents. When controlling for personal self-citations, no localization of knowledge flows remains to be seen at the city or province level. What remains of localization effects at the regional level diminishes sensibly after controlling also for the social ties between inventors from cited, citing, and control patents. Knowledge flows thus appear to be localized to the extent that cross-firm activity of inventors and the resulting social networks are also localized. The weight of personal self-citations suggests that frequent interpretations of localized knowledge flows as spillovers, that is externalities, may be misplaced.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Jacques Mairesse & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2010. "Contributions in Memory of Zvi Griliches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mair10-1, octubre-d.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12233.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12233

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    Cited by:
    1. Lorenzo Cassi & Anne Plunket, 2010. "The determinants of co-inventor tie formation: proximity and network dynamics," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1015, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Nov 2010.
    2. Breschi, Stefano & Catalini, Christian, 2010. "Tracing the links between science and technology: An exploratory analysis of scientists' and inventors' networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 14-26, February.
    3. Mario A. Maggioni & Mario Nosvelli & T. Erika Uberti, 2006. "Space Vs. Networks in the Geography of Innovation: A European Analysis," Working Papers 2006.153, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Carayol, Nicolas & Roux, Pascale, 2009. "Knowledge flows and the geography of networks: A strategic model of small world formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 414-427, August.
    5. Lissoni, Francesco, 2010. "Academic inventors as brokers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 843-857, September.
    6. Deroian, F., 2008. "Dissemination of spillovers in cost-reducing alliances," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 34-44, March.
    7. Favaro, Donata & Ninka, Eniel & Turvani, Margherita, 2012. "Productivity in innovation: the role of inventor connections and mobility," MPRA Paper 38950, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Camilla Lenzi, 2010. "Workers’ mobility and patterns of knowledge diffusion: evidence from Italian data," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 35(6), pages 651-670, December.

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