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Persistent Knowledge Specialisation and Intra-Industry Heterogeneity: an Analysis of the Spanish Pharmaceutical Industry

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    Abstract

    This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of within industry inter-firm variety. Building upon the knowledge-based theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Penrose, 1959; Fransman, 1994), this paper develops two themes. First, the analysis of intra-industry heterogeneity: why do firms that operate in the same industry differ, and why are such differences persistent? Second, the paper investigates the extent to which higher performance is associated with the capacity of firms to expand their knowledge base (rather than with their initial conditions). The main contribution of the paper is empirical, based on a data source consisting of information on documents published in scientific international journals by Spanish pharmaceutical firms. The empirical results support the argument that the firm's knowledge base is a main driver of persistent heterogeneity within industries on the one hand, because of the systematic variety in terms of how firms articulate and organise their research activities and their background knowledge, and on the other hand, because of the positive correlation between the firms' knowledge diversification and performance.

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    File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp110.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 110.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2004
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Research Policy, Volume 34, Number 1, 2005, pp.33-45. (New Title: How do Firms' Knowledge Bases Affect Intra- Industry Heterogeneity? An Analysis of the Spanish Pharmaceutical Industry)
    Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:110

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    Related research

    Keywords: Firm heterogeneity; Knowledge diversification; Bibliometric analysis; Spanish pharmaceutical industry;

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    1. Lionel Nesta & Ludovic Dibiaggio, 2003. "Technology Strategy and Knowledge Dynamics: The Case of Biotech´┐Ż," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 331-349.
    2. Patel, Pari & Pavitt, Keith, 1997. "The technological competencies of the world's largest firms: Complex and path-dependent, but not much variety," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 141-156, May.
    3. Pavitt, Keith, 1998. "Technologies, Products and Organization in the Innovating Firm: What Adam Smith Tells Us and Joseph Schumpeter Doesn't," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 433-52, September.
    4. Gambardella, Alfonso & Torrisi, Salvatore, 1998. "Does technological convergence imply convergence in markets? Evidence from the electronics industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 445-463, September.
    5. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    6. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2001. "The Microeconomics of Technological Systems," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245536.
    7. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    8. Narin, Francis & Rozek, Richard P., 1988. "Bibliometric analysis of U.S. pharmaceutical industry research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 139-154, June.
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