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Network-independent partner selection and the evolution of innovation networks

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  • Joel BAUM
  • Robin COWAN
  • Nicolas JONARD

Abstract

Empirical research on strategic alliances has focused on the idea that alliance partners are selected on the basis of social capital considerations. In this paper we emphasize instead the role of complementary knowledge stocks (broadly defined) in partner selection, arguing not only that knowledge complementarity should not be overlooked, but that it may be the true causal force behind alliance formation. To marshal evidence on this point, we design a simple model of partner selection in which firms ally for the purpose of learning and innovating, and in doing so create an industry network. We abstract completely from network-based structural and strategic motives for partner selection and focus instead on the idea that firms’ knowledge bases must “fit” in order for joint leaning and innovation to be possible, and thus for an alliance to be feasible. The striking result is that while containing no social capital considerations, this simple model replicates the firm conduct, network structure, and contingent effects of network position on performance observed and discussed in the empirical literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2009-23.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2009-23

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References

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  1. Joel A. C. Baum & Andrew V. Shipilov & Tim J. Rowley, 2003. "Where do small worlds come from?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 697-725, August.
  2. Baghana, Rufin & Mohnen, Pierre, 2009. "Effectiveness of R&D Tax Incentives in Small and Large Enterprises in Quebec," MERIT Working Papers 001, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2008. "If the Alliance Fits . . . : Innovation and Network Dynamics," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. Mowery, David C. & Oxley, Joanne E. & Silverman, Brian S., 1998. "Technological overlap and interfirm cooperation: implications for the resource-based view of the firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 507-523, September.
  5. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2008. "If the Alliance Fits . . . : Innovation and Network Dynamics," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  6. Oxley, Joanne E, 1997. "Appropriability Hazards and Governance in Strategic Alliances: A Transaction Cost Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 387-409, October.
  7. Holme, Petter & Min Park, Sung & Kim, Beom Jun & Edling, Christofer R., 2007. "Korean university life in a network perspective: Dynamics of a large affiliation network," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 373(C), pages 821-830.
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Cited by:
  1. Ivan Savin & Abiodun Egbetokun, 2013. "Emergence of Innovation Networks from R&D Cooperation with Endogenous Absorptive Capacity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Lorenzo Cassi & Lorenzo Zirulia, 2012. "Friends and Rivals: Modelling the Social Relations of Inventors," Working Paper Series 39_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  3. Baum, Joel A.C. & Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2012. "Prescriptions for network strategy: Does evidence of network effects in cross-section support them?," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. Herbert Dawid & Tim Hellmann, 2012. "The Evolution of R&D Networks," Working Papers 467, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  5. Baum, Joel A.C. & Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2012. "Prescriptions for network strategy: Does evidence of network effects in cross-section support them?," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  6. Robertson, Paul L. & Casali, G.L. & Jacobson, David, 2012. "Managing open incremental process innovation: Absorptive Capacity and distributed learning," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 822-832.
  7. Francesca Pallotti & Alessandro Lomi & Daniele Mascia, 2013. "From network ties to network structures: Exponential Random Graph Models of interorganizational relations," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 1665-1685, April.
  8. Kalm, Matias, 2012. "The Impact of Networking on Firm Performance - Evidence from Small and Medium-Sized Firms in Emerging Technology Areas," Discussion Papers 1278, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  9. Gao, Bo & Ren, Ruo-en, 2013. "The topology of a causal network for the Chinese financial system," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(13), pages 2965-2976.

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