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Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Technological Breakthroughs: An Analysis of U.S. State-Level Patenting

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  • Bart Los

    ()

  • Carolina Castaldi
  • Koen Frenken

Abstract

We investigate how variety affects the innovation output of a region. Borrowing arguments from theories of recombinant innovation, we expect that related variety will enhance innovation as related technologies are more easily recombined into a new technology. However, we also expect that unrelated variety enhances technological breakthroughs, since radical innovation often stems from connecting previously unrelated technologies opening up whole new functionalities and applications. Using patent data for US states in the period 1977-1999 and associated citation data, we find evidence for both hypotheses. Our study thus sheds a new and critical light on the related-variety hypothesis in economic geography.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa13p524.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p524

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Keywords: Keywords: recombinant innovation; regional innovation; superstar patents; technological variety; evolutionary economic geography;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Patents, Super Patents and Innovation at Regional Level
    by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2013-04-18 15:18:52
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Cited by:
  1. Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro & Pier Saviotti, 2014. "Knowledge characteristics and the dynamics of technological alliances in pharmaceuticals: empirical evidence from Europe, US and Japan," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 587-622, July.

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