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On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities

  • Klevorick, Alvin K.
  • Levin, Richard C.
  • Nelson, Richard R.
  • Winter, Sidney G.

The set of technological opportunities in a given industry is one of the fundamental determinants of technical advance in that line of business. We examine the concept of technological opportunity and discuss three categories of sources of those opportunities: advances in scientific understanding and technique, technological advances originating in other industries and in other private and governmental institutions, and feedbacks from an industry's own technological advances. Data from the Yale Survey on Industrial Research and Development are used to measure the strength of various sources of technological opportunity and to discern interindustry differences in the importance of these sources. We find that interindustry differences in the strength and sources of technological opportunities contribute importantly to explanations of cross-industry variation in R&D intensity and technological advance.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 185-205

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:24:y:1995:i:2:p:185-205
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  1. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
  2. Spence, Michael, 1984. "Cost Reduction, Competition, and Industry Performance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-21, January.
  3. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1992. "Scientific instrumentation and university research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 381-390, August.
  4. Levin, Richard C & Cohen, Wesley M & Mowery, David C, 1985. "R&D Appropriability, Opportunity, and Market Structure: New Evidence on Some Schumpeterian Hypotheses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 20-24, May.
  5. Nelson, Richard R. & Wolff, Edward N., 1997. "Factors behind cross-industry differences in technical progress," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 205-220, June.
  6. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  8. Gibbons, Michael & Johnston, Ron, 1974. "The roles of science in technological innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 220-242, November.
  9. Richard Levin & Peter C. Reiss, 1984. "Tests of a Schumpeterian Model of R&D and Market Structure," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 175-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. von Hippel, Eric, 1976. "The dominant role of users in the scientific instrument innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 212-239, July.
  11. Narin, Francis & Olivastro, Dominic, 1992. "Status report: Linkage between technology and science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 237-249, June.
  12. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1974. "Science, Invention and Economic Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(333), pages 90-108, March.
  13. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1969. "The Direction of Technological Change: Inducement Mechanisms and Focusing Devices," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, Part I Oc.
  14. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
  15. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
  16. Richard C. Levin & Peter C. Reiss, 1988. "Cost-Reducing and Demand-Creating R&D with Spillovers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 538-556, Winter.
  17. Cohen, Wesley M & Levin, Richard C & Mowery, David C, 1987. "Firm Size and R&D Intensity: A Re-examination," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 543-65, June.
  18. Walsh, Vivien, 1984. "Invention and innovation in the chemical industry: Demand-pull or discovery-push?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 211-234, August.
  19. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
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