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The knowledge-base evolution in biotechnology: a social network analysis

  • Jackie Krafft
  • Francesco Quatraro
  • Pier Paolo Saviotti

This paper applies the methodological tools typical of social network analysis (SNA) within an evolutionary framework, to investigate the knowledge-base (KB) dynamics of the biotechnology sector. Knowledge is here considered a collective good represented as a co-relational and a retrieval-interpretative structure. The internal structure of knowledge is described as a network, the nodes of which are small units within traces of knowledge, such as patent documents, connected by links determined by their joint utilization. We used measures referring to the network (like density) and to its nodes (like degree, closeness and betweenness centrality) to provide a synthetic description of the structure of the KB and of its evolution over time. Eventually, we compared such measures with more established properties of the KB calculated on the basis of co-occurrences of technological classes within patent documents. Empirical results show the existence of interesting and meaningful relationships across the different measures, providing support for the use of SNA to study the evolution of the KBs of industrial sectors and their lifecycles.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10438599.2011.562355
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

Volume (Year): 20 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 445-475

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:20:y:2011:i:5:p:445-475
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  1. Olsson, Ola, 2000. " Knowledge as a Set in Idea Space: An Epistemological View on Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 253-75, September.
  2. Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro, 2011. "The dynamics of technological knowledge," Post-Print halshs-00727633, HAL.
  3. Gert Sabidussi, 1966. "The centrality index of a graph," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 581-603, December.
  4. Koen Frenken & Frank Van Oort & Thijs Verburg, 2007. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 685-697.
  5. Thomas Grebel & Jackie Krafft & Pier-Paolo Saviotti, 2006. "On the Life Cycle of Knowledge Intensive Sectors," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 97(5), pages 63-85.
  6. Cristiano Antonelli (ed.), 2011. "Handbook on the Economic Complexity of Technological Change," Books, Edward Elgar, number 13391, July.
  7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pier Saviotti & Koen Frenken, 2008. "Export variety and the economic performance of countries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 201-218, April.
  9. Elisa Giuliani, 2007. "The selective nature of knowledge networks in clusters: evidence from the wine industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 139-168, March.
  10. Andrea Morrison, 2008. "Gatekeepers of Knowledge within Industrial Districts: Who They Are, How They Interact," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(6), pages 817-835.
  11. Lionel Nesta, 2004. "Knowledge and Productivity in the World's Largest Manufacturing Corporations," SPRU Working Paper Series 119, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  12. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco & Malerba, Franco, 2003. "Knowledge-relatedness in firm technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-87, January.
  13. Fleming, Lee & Sorenson, Olav, 2001. "Technology as a complex adaptive system: evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1019-1039, August.
  14. Teece, David J. & Rumelt, Richard & Dosi, Giovanni & Winter, Sidney, 1994. "Understanding corporate coherence : Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
  15. Krafft, Jackie & Quatraro, Francesco & Saviotti, Paolo, 2009. "Evolution of the Knowledge Base in Knowledge Intensive Sectors," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200906, University of Turin.
  16. Saviotti, P. P., 1988. "Information, variety and entropy in technoeconomic development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 89-103, April.
  17. Saviotti, Pier Paolo, 2007. "On the dynamics of generation and utilisation of knowledge: The local character of knowledge," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 387-408, December.
  18. Acs, Zoltan J. & Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila, 2002. "Patents and innovation counts as measures of regional production of new knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1069-1085, September.
  19. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Krafft, Jackie, 2004. "Entry, exit and knowledge: evidence from a cluster in the info-communications industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1687-1706, December.
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