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Recombinant Innovation and Endogenous Transitions

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Author Info

  • Koen Frenken

    ()

  • Luis R. Izquierdo
  • Paolo Zeppini

    ()

Abstract

We propose a model of technological transitions based on two different types of innovations. Branching innovations refer to technological improvements along a particular path, while recombinant innovations represent fusions of multiple paths. Recombinant innovations create “short-cuts” which reduce switching costs allowing agents to escape a technological lock-in. As a result, recombinant innovations speed up technological progress allowing transitions that are impossible with only branching innovations. Our model replicates some stylized facts of technological change, such as technological lockin, experimental failure, punctuated change and irreversibility. Furthermore, an extensive simulation experiment suggests that there is an optimal rate of innovation, which is strongly correlated with the number of recombination innovations. This underlines the pivotal role of technological variety as a seed for recombinant innovation leading to technological transitions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) in its series Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series with number 12-01.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1201

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Web page: http://ecis.ieis.tue.nl/

Related research

Keywords: variety; network externalities; lock-in; switching costs; recombinant innovations; transition; punctuated change;

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References

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  1. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2008. "Optimal diversity: Increasing returns versus recombinant innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 565-580, December.
  2. Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & Peter Karnøe, 2010. "Path Dependence or Path Creation?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 760-774, 06.
  3. Lee Fleming, 2001. "Recombinant Uncertainty in Technological Search," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 117-132, January.
  4. Schilling, Melissa A. & Green, Elad, 2011. "Recombinant search and breakthrough idea generation: An analysis of high impact papers in the social sciences," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1321-1331.
  5. Frenken, Koen & Saviotti, Paolo P. & Trommetter, Michel, 1999. "Variety and niche creation in aircraft, helicopters, motorcycles and microcomputers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 469-488, June.
  6. Gerald Silverberg & Bart Verspagen, 2002. "A Percolation Model of Innovation in Complex Technology Spaces," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 24, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Vega-Redondo, F., 1990. "Technological Change and Path Dependence: A Co-Evolutionary Model on a Directed Graph," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 145.90, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  8. Paolo Zeppini & Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, 2011. "Competing Recombinant Technologies for Environmental Innovation: Extending Arthur's Model of Lock-In," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 317-334.
  9. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, March.
  10. Fleming, Lee & Sorenson, Olav, 2001. "Technology as a complex adaptive system: evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1019-1039, August.
  11. Carayol, Nicolas & Dalle, Jean-Michel, 2007. "Sequential problem choice and the reward system in Open Science," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 167-191, June.
  12. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Paolo Zeppini & Koen Frenken & Roland Kupers, 2013. "Threshold models of technological transitions," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 13-06, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS), revised Aug 2013.
  2. Jürgen Essletzbichler, 2013. "Relatedness, industrial branching and technological cohesion in U.S. metropolitan areas," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1307, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised May 2013.
  3. Carolina Castaldi & Koen Frenken & Bart Los, 2013. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Technological Breakthroughs: an analysis of U.S. state-level patenting," Working Papers 13-03, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Feb 2013.

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