Do important inventions benefit from knowledge originating in other technological domains?
A frequently made claim in the innovation literature is that important inventions involve the transfer of new knowledge from one technological domain to another. This study uses U.S. patents granted from 1976 to 2006 to identify the role of knowledge acquired from outside each patent's technological domain. Our results do not seem to support the claim above. Increasing citations to external prior art is a significantly less important predictor of forward citation frequency than citing prior art that is technologically closer. This result is robust across several model specifications and ways of defining whether each flow of knowledge is external. The result is even stronger in the most highly cited technology categories. We discuss possible explanations for this apparently negative impact of external knowledge—including both measurement issues and challenges associated with assimilating disparate knowledge.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Zvi Griliches, 1990.
"Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey,"
NBER Working Papers
3301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
- Aaron J. Shenhar, 2001. "One Size Does Not Fit All Projects: Exploring Classical Contingency Domains," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(3), pages 394-414, March.
- Nemet, Gregory F., 2009. "Demand-pull, technology-push, and government-led incentives for non-incremental technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 700-709, June.
- Suzuki, Jun & Kodama, Fumio, 2004. "Technological diversity of persistent innovators in Japan: Two case studies of large Japanese firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 531-549, April.
- Lee Fleming, 2001. "Recombinant Uncertainty in Technological Search," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 117-132, January.
- Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
- Gilsing, Victor & Nooteboom, Bart & Vanhaverbeke, Wim & Duysters, Geert & van den Oord, Ad, 2008.
"Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies: Technological distance, betweenness centrality and density,"
Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1717-1731, December.
- Nooteboom, B. & Gilsing, V.A. & Vanhaverbeke, W.P.M. & Duijsters, G.M. & Oord, A., 2006. "Network Embeddedness and the Exploration of Novel Technologies : Technological Distance, Betweenness Centrality and Density," Discussion Paper 2006-32, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Victor Gilsing & Bart Noteboom & Wim Vanhaverbeke & Geert Duysters & Ad van Noord, 2006. "Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies: technological distance, betweenness centrality and density," Working Papers 06-08, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Apr 2006.
- Gilsing, V.A. & Nooteboom, B. & van Haverbeke, W.P.M. & Duijsters, G.M. & Oord, A., 2008. "Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies : Technological distance, betweenness centrality and density," Other publications TiSEM 762e80f1-0adc-4184-b1be-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Popp, David, 2005. "Lessons from patents: Using patents to measure technological change in environmental models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 209-226, August.
- Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-34, November.
- Nelson, R.R. & Wolff, E.N., 1992.
"Factors Behind Cross-Industry Differences in Technical Progress,"
92-27, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- 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.
- Roberto Fontana & Alessandro Nuvolari & Bart Verspagen, 2009.
"Mapping technological trajectories as patent citation networks. An application to data communication standards,"
Economics of Innovation and New Technology,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 311-336.
- Roberto Fontana & Alessandro Nuvolari & Bart Verspagen, 2008. "Mapping Technological Trajectories as Patent Citation Networks. An application to Data Communication Standards," SPRU Working Paper Series 166, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
- Garcia-Vega, Maria, 2006. "Does technological diversification promote innovation?: An empirical analysis for European firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 230-246, March.
- Atul Nerkar, 2003. "Old Is Gold? The Value of Temporal Exploration in the Creation of New Knowledge," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(2), pages 211-229, February.
- Jaffe, Adam B & Fogarty, Michael S & Banks, Bruce A, 1998.
"Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 183-205, June.
- Adam B. Jaffe & Michael S. Fogarty & Bruce A. Banks, 1997. "Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Manuel Trajtenberg & Adam B. Jaffe & Michael S. Fogarty, 2000. "Knowledge Spillovers and Patent Citations: Evidence from a Survey of Inventors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 215-218, May.
- James Bessen, 2006.
"The Value of U.S. Patents by Owner and Patent Characteristics,"
0603, Research on Innovation.
- Bessen, James, 2008. "The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 932-945, June.
- Rosell, Carlos & Agrawal, Ajay, 2009. "Have university knowledge flows narrowed?: Evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-13, February.
- Benner, Mary & Waldfogel, Joel, 2008.
"Close to you? Bias and precision in patent-based measures of technological proximity,"
Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1556-1567, October.
- Mary Benner & Joel Waldfogel, 2007. "Close to You? Bias and Precision in Patent-Based Measures of Technological Proximity," NBER Working Papers 13322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, 04.
- Mariani, Myriam, 2004. "What determines technological hits?: Geography versus firm competencies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1565-1582, December.
- Jaffe, Adam B, 1986.
"Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
- Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2007.
"The puzzle of patent value indicators,"
Working Papers CEB
07-023.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Richard R. Nelson, 2003.
"On the Uneven Evolution of Human Know-How,"
LEM Papers Series
2003/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- David Popp, 2006. "They Don'T Invent Them Like They Used To: An Examination Of Energy Patent Citations Over Time," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(8), pages 753-776.
- repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Market Value and Patent Citations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 16-38, Spring.
- Olav Sorenson & Jan W. Rivkin & Lee Fleming, 2010.
"Complexity, Networks and Knowledge Flows,"
in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 15
Edward Elgar Publishing.
- K. Pavitt & M. Robson & J. Townsend, 1989. "Technological Accumulation, Diversification and Organisation in UK Companies, 1945--1983," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(1), pages 81-99, January.
- Scherer, F. M., 1982. "Inter-industry technology flows in the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 227-245, August.
- Rosenberg, Nathan, 2009.
"Some critical episodes in the progress of medical innovation: An Anglo-American perspective,"
Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 234-242, March.
- Nathan Rosenberg, 2008. "Some Critical Episodes in the Progress of Medical Innovation: An Anglo-American Perspective," Discussion Papers 08-008, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Arthur, W. Brian, 2007. "The structure of invention," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 274-287, March.
- Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297.
- 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.
- Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
- Cuijpers, Maarten & Guenter, Hannes & Hussinger, Katrin, 2011.
"Costs and benefits of inter-departmental innovation collaboration,"
ZEW Discussion Papers
11-003, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Cuijpers, Maarten & Guenter, Hannes & Hussinger, Katrin, 2011. "Costs and benefits of inter-departmental innovation collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 565-575, May.
- Scherer, F. M. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2000. "Technology policy for a world of skew-distributed outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 559-566, April.
- Schoenmakers, Wilfred & Duysters, Geert, 2010. "The technological origins of radical inventions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1051-1059, October.
- Harhoff, Dietmar & Scherer, Frederic M. & Vopel, Katrin, 2003. "Citations, family size, opposition and the value of patent rights," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1343-1363, September.
- Mina, A. & Ramlogan, R. & Tampubolon, G. & Metcalfe, J.S., 2007. "Mapping evolutionary trajectories: Applications to the growth and transformation of medical knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 789-806, June.
- Bessen, James, 2005. "Patents and the diffusion of technical information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 121-128, January.
- Maurseth, Per Botolf & Verspagen, Bart, 2002. " Knowledge Spillovers in Europe: A Patent Citations Analysis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 531-45, December.
- Barberá-Tomás, David & Jiménez-Sáez, Fernando & Castelló-Molina, Itziar, 2011. "Mapping the importance of the real world: The validity of connectivity analysis of patent citations networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 473-486, April.
- Criscuolo, Paola & Verspagen, Bart, 2008. "Does it matter where patent citations come from? Inventor vs. examiner citations in European patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1892-1908, December.
- Juan Alcácer & Michelle Gittelman, 2006. "Patent Citations as a Measure of Knowledge Flows: The Influence of Examiner Citations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 774-779, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:1:p:190-200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.