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'Inequality' of innovation: skewed distributions and the returns to innovation in Dutch manufacturing

  • Orietta Marsili
  • Ammon Salter
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    It is a commonly held view that returns to innovation are highly skewed, that is, not all firms innovate, and the returns received from innovation for the firms that are successful innovators are highly concentrated in the hands of the few. Using data from two community innovation surveys for the Netherlands, this article investigates the properties of the distribution of the returns to innovation for different types of innovation. It finds that the returns to innovation are indeed highly skewed, but the distribution of the returns is shaped by the degree of novelty of the innovation - the more novel the innovation, the greater the concentration of the returns. The article also explores the distribution of the returns across different sectoral contexts, finding that low-technology sectors are characterised by higher performance diversity among innovators than high-technology sectors.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 ()
    Pages: 83-102

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:14:y:2005:i:1-2:p:83-102
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    1. 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.
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    4. F. M. Scherer & Dietmar Harhoff & J, rg Kukies, 2000. "Uncertainty and the size distribution of rewards from innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 175-200.
    5. Stanley, Michael H. R. & Buldyrev, Sergey V. & Havlin, Shlomo & Mantegna, Rosario N. & Salinger, Michael A. & Eugene Stanley, H., 1995. "Zipf plots and the size distribution of firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 453-457, October.
    6. Henrekson, Magnus & Johansson, Dan, 1998. "Institutional Effects on the Evolution of the Size Distribution of Firms," Working Paper Series 497, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, June.
    8. Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1996. "Schumpeterian patterns of innovation are technology-specific," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 451-478, May.
    9. Patel, Pari & Pavitt, Keith, 1997. "The technological competencies of the world's largest firms: Complex and path-dependent, but not much variety," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 141-156, May.
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