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Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited




The paper provides a reassessment of arguments and tests in support of the existence and magnitude of localized knowledge spillovers proposed by Jaffe, Trajtenberg and Henderson (1993). We use information in patents to control for the mobility of inventors across companies and space, as well as for the network ties that such mobility helps establishing. Our results indicate that localisation effects tend to vanish where citing and cited patents are not linked to each other by any network relationship. On the contrary, knowledge flows, as evidenced by patent citations, are strongly localized to the extent that labour mobility and network ties also are. We interpret these results as evidence that geography is not a sufficient condition for accessing a local pool of knowledge, but it requires active participation in a network of knowledge exchanges. Moreover, hiring workers from competitors and other firms seems to be a key means to access such a network.

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  • Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2003. "Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited," KITeS Working Papers 142, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp142

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
    2. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    3. Paul Krugman, 1992. "Geography and Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610868, July.
    4. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
    5. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1992. "Real Effects of Academic Research: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 363-367, March.
    6. Jaffe, Adam B, 1988. "Demand and Supply Influences in R&D Intensity and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 431-437, August.
    7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "The Search for R&D Spillovers," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 251-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    knowledge spillovers; localization; patent citations.;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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