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Opportunity knocks


  • Astebro, Thomas B.
  • Dahlin, Kristina B.


Research on technological opportunity has typically focused on the impact of broad industry characteristics on R&D intensity of firms. This study complements such approaches by examining the impact of a multidimensional vector that measures technological opportunity on independent inventors' decisions to patent and commercialize inventions. Using data from 559 inventions and controlling for demand, appropriability, and competitive conditions, we found two of four tested dimensions of technological opportunity - technical performance and technical uncertainty - to be significant and important determinants of the likelihood of commercialization. Technical feasibility appears important in affecting patenting but unimportant in affecting commercialization. Technical significance carries a negative, although insignificant, sign conditioning commercialization.
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Suggested Citation

  • Astebro, Thomas B. & Dahlin, Kristina B., 2005. "Opportunity knocks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1404-1418, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:34:y:2005:i:9:p:1404-1418

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacob Goldenberg & Donald R. Lehmann & David Mazursky, 2001. "The Idea Itself and the Circumstances of Its Emergence as Predictors of New Product Success," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 69-84, January.
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    4. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Levin, Richard C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1995. "On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 185-205, March.
    5. Eric von Hippel & Ralph Katz, 2002. "Shifting Innovation to Users via Toolkits," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 821-833, July.
    6. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Labay, Duncan G & Kinnear, Thomas C, 1981. " Exploring the Consumer Decision Process in the Adoption of Solar Energy Systems," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 271-278, December.
    8. Scott Shane, 2001. "Technology Regimes and New Firm Formation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(9), pages 1173-1190, September.
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    10. Ostlund, Lyman E, 1974. " Perceived Innovation Attributes as Predictors of Innovativeness," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 23-29, Se.
    11. Von Hippel, Eric A. & Katz, Ralph, 2002. "Shifting Innovation to Users Via Toolkits," Working papers 4232-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    12. Amesse, Fernand & Desranleau, Claude & Etemad, Hamid & Fortier, Yves & Seguin-Dulude, Louise, 1991. "The individual inventor and the role of entrepreneurship : A survey of the Canadian evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 13-27, February.
    13. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Economics of Invention: A Survey of the Literature," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32, pages 101-101.
    14. Thomas Åstebro & Yigal Gerchak, 2001. "Profitable Advice: the Value of Information Provided by Canada's Inventor's Assistance Program," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 45-72.
    15. Scott Shane, 2001. "Technological Opportunities and New Firm Creation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(2), pages 205-220, February.
    16. Dahlin, Kristina & Taylor, Margaret & Fichman, Mark, 2004. "Today's Edisons or weekend hobbyists: technical merit and success of inventions by independent inventors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1167-1183, October.
    17. Schmookler, Jacob, 1962. "Economic Sources of Inventive Activity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 1-20, March.
    18. repec:crs:wpaper:9833 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Isabella Leone & Raffaele Oriani & Toke Reichstein, 2015. "How much are flexibility and uncertainty worth in patent licensing?," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 371-394, December.
    2. repec:eee:techno:v:60-61:y:2017:i::p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Iritié, Jean-Jacques B-G., 2012. "Effets des pôles de compétitivité dans les industries de haute technologie : une analyse d'économie industrielle de l'innovation
      [Effects of competitiveness clusters in high technology industries:
      ," MPRA Paper 46686, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Peters, Michael & Schneider, Malte & Griesshaber, Tobias & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2012. "The impact of technology-push and demand-pull policies on technical change – Does the locus of policies matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1296-1308.
    5. Lettl, Christopher & Rost, Katja & von Wartburg, Iwan, 2009. "Why are some independent inventors 'heroes' and others 'hobbyists'? The moderating role of technological diversity and specialization," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 243-254, March.
    6. Dahlin, Kristina B. & Behrens, Dean M., 2005. "When is an invention really radical?: Defining and measuring technological radicalness," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 717-737, June.
    7. De Mot, Jef & Depoorter, Ben, 2011. "Technology and torts: Memory costs, nondurable precautions and interference effects," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 284-290.

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