The Evolution of Knowledge and the Dynamics of an Industry Network
The paper moves a step forward in the direction of establishing a connection between the structure and evolution of knowledge bases and the structure and evolution of organizational forms in innovative activities in a science-intensive industry. The paper has an explicit focus on the dynamics of the network of collaborative agreements in R&D in the pharma/biotech industry after the “molecular biology revolution”. Using a comprehensive dataset, built by the authors integrating several sources in the industry, the dynamics of the network over time is extensively analyzed. With regards to network structure, it is found that, while the size of the network increases over time due to net flows of entry, its topological properties remain relatively unchanged. The evolution of the network has occurred without relevant deformations in the core-periphery profile. With regards to age-dependent propensity to collaborate, the paper finds that the extent of inter-generational collaboration is much more significant than intra-generational collaboration. In addition, the propensity of firms of a given generation to enter into collaboration with firms of a different generation increases with the distance between the two, while the total number of intra-generational collaborations decreases over time and, moreover, tends to decrease for most recent generations. In the paper a unitary and coherent explanation of the evidence is developed, coming to reveal the existence of a striking isomorphism between structural properties of the dynamics of knowledge and of the evolution of network structure. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997
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