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Science, social networks and spillovers


  • O. Sorenson
  • J. Singh
  • L. Fleming


Previous empirical research has established that science appears to stimulate the widespread diffusion of knowledge. The exact mechanism through which science catalyzes knowledge flow, however, remains somewhat ambiguous. This paper investigates whether the observed knowledge diffusion associated with science-based innovation genuinely stems from the norm of openness and incentives for publication, or whether it arises as an artifact of scientists having more dispersed social networks that facilitate the dissemination of tacit knowledge. Our findings support the former possibility: We use patent citation patterns to track knowledge flows, and find that science-based innovations diffuse more widely even after controlling for the underlying social networks of researchers as measured using data on prior collaborations.

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  • O. Sorenson & J. Singh & L. Fleming, 2005. "Science, social networks and spillovers," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-12, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2005-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. J. Prais, 1952. "Non-Linear Estimates of the Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 87-104.
    2. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1979. "The Welfare Basis of Real Income Comparisons: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-45, March.
    4. J. Aitchison & J. A. C. Brown, 1954. "A Synthesis of Engel Curve Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 35-46.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:taf:regstd:v:51:y:2017:i:8:p:1246-1258 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Dornbusch, Friedrich & Brenner, Thomas, 2013. "Universities as local knowledge hubs under different technology regimes: New evidence from academic patenting," Working Papers "Firms and Region" R6/2013, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    3. 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.
    4. Francesco Quatraro & Stefano Usai, 2017. "Are knowledge flows all alike? Evidence from European regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(8), pages 1246-1258, August.
    5. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder, 2007. "Technological proximity and the choice of cooperation partner," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 2(1), pages 45-65, June.
    6. Friedrich Dornbusch & Thomas Brenner, 2013. "Universities as local knowledge hubs under different technology regimes – New evidence from academic patenting," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2013-10, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    7. Waverly W. Ding, 2011. "The Impact of Founders' Professional-Education Background on the Adoption of Open Science by For-Profit Biotechnology Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(2), pages 257-273, February.
    8. Tom Broekel & Ron Boschma, 2012. "Knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry: the proximity paradox," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 409-433, March.

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