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The magnitude of innovation by demand in a sectoral system: The role of industrial users in semiconductors

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  • Adams, Pamela
  • Fontana, Roberto
  • Malerba, Franco

Abstract

How relevant is innovation by demand compared to innovation by other actors in a sector? In quantitative terms, this is a yet unanswered question. The current study fills this major gap in the literature on industry studies. By taking a sectoral system perspective, this study is able to highlight the magnitude of innovation by intermediate user firms in a high technology sector: semiconductors. Using a combination of different datasets – patents, co-patents, R&D alliances and new ventures in semiconductors – this study proposes a novel quantitative approach to assessing the magnitude of innovative activity by user firms. The study reaches several findings. First, the magnitude of innovation by user firms, as measured by patents, is high in both absolute and relative terms compared to semiconductor firms and other actors in the sector. Second, the distribution of patents among different demand segments is highly uneven. Third, innovative user firms are highly heterogeneous in terms of size, diversification and vertical integration. Fourth, collaboration in R&D and co-patenting activity in semiconductors take place not just between user firms and semiconductor firms, but also among user firms themselves. Fifth, innovative user firms are quite active in entrepreneurial activity in semiconductors and their new ventures, on average, survive longer than spin-offs or other start-ups.

Suggested Citation

  • Adams, Pamela & Fontana, Roberto & Malerba, Franco, 2013. "The magnitude of innovation by demand in a sectoral system: The role of industrial users in semiconductors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.05.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arora, Ashish & Cohen, Wesley M. & Walsh, John P., 2016. "The acquisition and commercialization of invention in American manufacturing: Incidence and impact," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1113-1128.
    2. repec:col:000411:015719 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Triulzi, G., 2014. "Technology life cycle and specialization patterns of latecomer countries: The case of the semiconductor industry," MERIT Working Papers 012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Agarwal, Rajshree & Shah, Sonali K., 2014. "Knowledge sources of entrepreneurship: Firm formation by academic, user and employee innovators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1109-1133.
    5. Goeldner, Moritz & Herstatt, Cornelius, 2016. "Are patients and relatives the better innovators? The case of medical smartphone applications," Working Papers 91, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management.
    6. Joern H. Block & Christian O. Fisch & Mirjam van Praag, 2016. "The Schumpeterian Entrepreneur: A Review of the Empirical Evidence on the Antecedents, Behavior, and Consequences of Innovative Entrepreneurship," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-072/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sectoral systems; Innovation measurement; User innovation; Patents; Semiconductor industry;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment

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