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Structural Holes, Innovation and the Distribution of Ideas

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Author Info

  • Cowan, Robin

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT)

  • Jonard, Nicolas

    ()
    (Université de Luxembourg)

Abstract

We 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 Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 039.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2006039

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Keywords: Innovation; Diffusion of Innovations; Knowledge; Information; Networks;

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References

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  1. Cowan, R. & Jonard, N., 2003. "The dynamics of collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 513-532, December.
  2. Cowan,Robin & Jonard,Nicolas, 1999. "Network Structure and the Diffusion of Knowledge," Research Memorandum 026, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Schrader, Stephan, 1991. "Informal technology transfer between firms: Cooperation through information trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-170, April.
  4. Claudia Werker & Thomas Brenner, 2004. "Empirical Calibration of Simulation Models," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-10, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  5. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  6. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  7. Granstrand, Ove & Sjolander, Soren, 1990. "Managing innovation in multi-technology corporations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 35-60, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Maryann Feldman, 1999. "The New Economics Of Innovation, Spillovers And Agglomeration: Areview Of Empirical Studies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 5-25.
  10. von Hippel, Eric, 1987. "Cooperation between rivals: Informal know-how trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 291-302, December.
  11. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cantner, Uwe & Rake, Bastian, 2014. "International research networks in pharmaceuticals: Structure and dynamics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 333-348.
  2. Mauro Napoletano & Stefano Battiston & Michael D König & Frank Schweitzer, 2008. "The efficiency and evolution of R&D Networks," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9933, Sciences Po.
  3. König, Michael D. & Battiston, S. & Napoletano, M. & Schweitzer, F., 2011. "Recombinant knowledge and the evolution of innovation networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 145-164, August.
  4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9935 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Cilem Selin Hazir, 2011. "Conceptualizing the Role of Geographical Proximity in Project Based R&D Networks: A Literature Survey," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1616, European Regional Science Association.
  6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/7346 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9933 is not listed on IDEAS

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