Structural Holes, Innovation and the Distribution of Ideas
AbstractWe 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 InfoPaper provided by United Nations University, Maastricht Economic and social Research and training centre on Innovation and Technology in its series UNU-MERIT Working Paper Series with number 039.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://www.merit.unu.edu
Innovation; Diffusion of Innovations; Knowledge; Information; Networks;
Other versions of this item:
- Robin Cowan & Nicolas Jonard, 2007. "Structural holes, innovation and the distribution of ideas," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 93-110, December.
- Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2006. "Structural Holes, Innovation and the Distribution of Ideas," MERIT Working Papers 039, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- O31 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-11-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-INO-2006-11-18 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2006-11-18 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-KNM-2006-11-18 (Knowledge Management & Knowledge Economy)
- NEP-SOC-2006-11-18 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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