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Technological Characteristics and R&D Alliance Form: Evidence from the U.S. Biotechnology Industry

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  • Xia Wang

    (University of Connecticut)

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Abstract

This study seeks to advance and test the knowledge-based theory of the firm as it applies to explaining the governance structure of R&D alliances. Unlike transaction-cost economics, the knowledge-based theory attempts to explain organizational form not primarily in terms of incentive misalignment but in terms of the creation, acquisition, and coordination of productive capabilities. To study the role played by firm-specific technological competencies, I consider three technological characteristics of an alliance: technological similarity, technological relatedness, and technological diversity. With a sample of 111 biotech-biotech R&D alliances, I find that technological relatedness and diversity increase the probability that allying firms would select the higher integration mode. Technological similarity, though, bears a non-monotonic relationship with organizational choice. Overall, the results support the knowledge-based argument that the idiosyncrasy in technological traits influences which type of alliance forms would be selected by allying firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2005-35.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2005-35

Note: I thank Richard N. Langlois, John Cantwell, Michelle Gittelman, Rachelle C. Sampson, and Anu Wadhwa for helpful comments on this paper. Will Mitchell has made the paper possible by allowing me access to ReCap. This paper also benefited from comments received at the 11th CCC conference at Goizueta Business School, Emory University, and the brownbag presentation at the Department of Economics, University of Connecticut. Financial support was provided by the Department of Economics and the Graduate School at the University of Connecticut.
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Keywords: technology; governance; alliance; R&D;

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  1. Su, Han Chan & Kensinger, John W. & Keown, Arthur J. & Martin, John D., 1997. "Do strategic alliances create value?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 199-221, November.
  2. Niosi, Jorge, 2003. "Alliances are not enough explaining rapid growth in biotechnology firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 737-750, May.
  3. Nakamura, Masao & Shaver, J. Myles & Yeung, Bernard, 1996. "An empirical investigation of joint venture dynamics: Evidence from U.S.-Japan joint ventures," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 521-541, June.
  4. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
  5. Cantwell, John & Piscitello, Lucia, 2000. "Accumulating Technological Competence: Its Changing Impact on Corporate Diversification and Internationalization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 21-51, March.
  6. Brian J. Loasby, . "The Organisation of Capabilities," Working Papers Series 96/6, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  7. Rachelle C. Sampson, 2004. "Organizational choice in R&D alliances: Knowledge-based and transaction cost perspectives," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(6-7), pages 421-436.
  8. Teece, David J. & Rumelt, Richard & Dosi, Giovanni & Winter, Sidney, 1994. "Understanding corporate coherence : Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
  9. John Cantwell & Massimo Colombo, 2000. "Technological and Output Complementarities, and Inter-Firm Cooperation in Information Technology Ventures," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 117-147, March.
  10. Cantwell, John & Vertova, Giovanna, 2004. "Historical evolution of technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 511-529, April.
  11. Richard N. Langlois, 1995. "Transaction Costs, Production Costs, and the Passage of Time," Working papers 1995-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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