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Is the Tendency to Variation a Chief Cause of Progress?

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  • Cohen, Wesley M
  • Malerba, Franco

Abstract

This paper briefly reviews the sources of the diversity of innovative activity within industries, and interprets the literature to suggest that there are three ways in which such diversity may stimulate technological progress, including a selection effect, a breadth effect and a complementarity effect. Using industry-level data from the Yale survey administered in the 1980s, the paper presents preliminary empirical results on the relationship between the diversity of R&D activities within industries and their rate of technical advance. This exploratory exercise finds that, controlling for industry R&D intensity, greater diversity in innovative activity is associated with a more rapid pace of technological change. Policy implications are considered. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Cohen, Wesley M & Malerba, Franco, 2001. "Is the Tendency to Variation a Chief Cause of Progress?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 587-608, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:10:y:2001:i:3:p:587-608
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. André van Stel & Ingrid Verheul, 2007. "Entrepreneurial diversity and economic growth," Scales Research Reports H200701, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    2. M. C. Guardo & K. R. Harrigan, 2016. "Shaping the path to inventive activity: the role of past experience in R&D alliances," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 250-269, April.
    3. Lee, Sangwon & Nam, Yoonjae & Lee, Seonmi & Son, Hyunjung, 2016. "Determinants of ICT innovations: A cross-country empirical study," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 71-77.
    4. repec:pab:wpbsad:16.01 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Singh, Jasjit, 2008. "Distributed R&D, cross-regional knowledge integration and quality of innovative output," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 77-96, February.
    6. Aaron Chatterji & Edward Glaeser & William Kerr, 2014. "Clusters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 129-166.
    7. repec:eee:tefoso:v:120:y:2017:i:c:p:163-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. World Bank, 2009. "Mozambique - Investment Climate Assessment - 2009 : Sustaining and Broadening Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3158, The World Bank.
    9. Duysters, Geert & Lokshin, Boris, 2007. "Determinants of alliance portfolio complexity and its effect on innovative performance of companies," MERIT Working Papers 033, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    10. E. Stam & J.G. Lambooy, 2012. "Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Space, and Place: Evolutionary Economic Geography meets Austrian Economics," Working Papers 12-11, Utrecht School of Economics.
    11. Cohen, Wesley M., 2010. "Fifty Years of Empirical Studies of Innovative Activity and Performance," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    12. Xie, Zhenzhen & Li, Jiatao, 2015. "Demand Heterogeneity, Learning Diversity and Innovation in an Emerging Economy," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 277-292.
    13. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9873-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Jose-Luis Hervas-Oliver & Francisca Sempere-Ripoll & Carles Boronat-Moll, 2014. "Process innovation strategy in SMEs, organizational innovation and performance: a misleading debate?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 873-886, December.
    15. Mohammad Saleh Farazi & Ana Pérez-Luño & Shanthi Gopalakrishnan, 2016. "How Can Knowledge Structuration Serve Strategic Goals? A Theory For Technology Firms," Working Papers 16.01, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Business Organization and Marketing (former Department of Business Administration), revised Jun 2016.
    16. J. Metcalfe, 2002. "On the Optimality of the Competitive Process: Kimura's Theorem and Market Dynamics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 109-133, May.
    17. Wilfried Zidorn & Marcus Wagner, 2012. "Too Much of a Good Thing: The Role of Alliance Portfolio Diversity for Innovation Output in the Biotechnology Industry," DRUID Working Papers 12-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    18. Carlsson , Bo, 2016. "Industrial Dynamics: A Review of the Literature 1990-2009," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/3, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

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