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It’s a match! Simulating compatibility-based learning in a network of networks

Author

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  • Michael P. Schlaile

    () (University of Hohenheim)

  • Johannes Zeman

    (University of Stuttgart)

  • Matthias Mueller

    (University of Hohenheim)

Abstract

In this article, we develop a new way to capture knowledge diffusion and assimilation in innovation networks by means of an agent-based simulation model. The model incorporates three essential characteristics of knowledge that have not been covered entirely by previous diffusion models: the network character of knowledge, compatibility of new knowledge with already existing knowledge, and the fact that transmission of knowledge requires some form of attention. We employ a network-of- networks approach, where agents are located within an innovation network and each agent itself contains another network composed of knowledge units (KUs). Since social learning is a path-dependent process, in our model, KUs are exchanged among agents and integrated into their respective knowledge networks depending on the received KUs’ compatibility with the currently focused ones. Thereby, we are also able to endogenize attributes such as absorptive capacity that have been treated as an exogenous parameter in some of the previous diffusion models. We use our model to simulate and analyze various scenarios, including cases for different degrees of knowledge diversity and cognitive distance among agents as well as knowledge exploitation vs. exploration strategies. Here, the model is able to distinguish between two levels of knowledge diversity: heterogeneity within and between agents. Additionally, our simulation results give fresh impetus to debates about the interplay of innovation network structure and knowledge diffusion. In summary, our article proposes a novel way of modeling knowledge diffusion, thereby contributing to an advancement of the economics of innovation and knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael P. Schlaile & Johannes Zeman & Matthias Mueller, 2018. "It’s a match! Simulating compatibility-based learning in a network of networks," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 28(5), pages 1111-1150, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:28:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s00191-018-0579-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-018-0579-z
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    Cited by:

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    3. Sophie Urmetzer & Michael P. Schlaile & Kristina B. Bogner & Matthias Mueller & Andreas Pyka, 2018. "Exploring the Dedicated Knowledge Base of a Transformation towards a Sustainable Bioeconomy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-22, May.
    4. Abatecola, Gianpaolo & Breslin, Dermot & Kask, Johan, 2020. "Do organizations really co-evolve? Problematizing co-evolutionary change in management and organization studies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agent-based modeling; Cognitive distance; Exploitation; Exploration; Innovation; Innovation networks; Knowledge compatibility; Knowledge diffusion; Knowledge networks; Learning; Memetics; Network-of-networks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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