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Evolution of the knowledge base in knowledge intensive sectors

  • Jackie Krafft

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR6227 - Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)

  • Francesco Quatraro

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR6227 - Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)

  • Pier-Paolo Saviotti

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR6227 - Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)

In a knowledge based society the creation and utilisation of knowledge become the key factors determining the competitiveness of firms, regions and countries. In this perspective a considerable effort is today dedicated to characterise the knowledge base of different sectors in the economy and to detect its impact on firm performance and on industrial organization (Breschi, Lissoni, and Malerba, 2003; Krafft, 2004; Nesta and Saviotti, 2005). Although all sectors in modern economies are affected by a growing knowledge intensity, some sectors are influenced more than the average. We call these Knowledge Intensive Sectors (KISs). In this paper we map the dynamics of knowledge generation within three KISs: biotechnology, telecommunications and electronics. The first question which is addressed is how to characterize a KIS. Typically we would expect KISs to have a high R&D intensity, to produce more patents and publications than less knowledge intensive sectors and to have a greater impact of knowledge production on firm performance and on sectoral growth. A further and important aspect of KISs is the presence of discontinuity in knowledge. Not that such discontinuities are present only in KISs: other sectors are going to be affected, although often less directly, by these discontinuities. However, KISs are likely to be the first ones to start exploring new forms of knowledge and to move them towards exploitation. Thus, we can expect the dynamics of knowledge generation and utilization in KISs to be affected by both (i) the rate of knowledge creation and (ii) the presence of discontinuities in new knowledge. It follows that in order to be able to link the dynamics of knowledge creation and utilization to firm performance and to industrial organization we need to detect a number of properties of the knowledge base (KB) of KISs. Properties such as the diversity/variety of the KB, its coherence and its cognitive distance (or conversely its similarity) between different KBs have already been shown to be potential determinants of firm performance. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this new literature by characterizing the evolution of the KB in three KISs, namely biotechnology, telecommunications and electronics. We use data from the European Patent Office database (EPO database) to see whether we can find common trends in the evolution of the KB of these three KISs.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00264261.

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Date of creation: 14 Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00264261
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  1. 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.
  2. Lionel Nesta & Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2005. "COHERENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE BASE AND THE FIRM'S INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE: EVIDENCE FROM THE U.S. PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 123-142, 03.
  3. 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.
  4. Evens Salies & Jackie Krafft, 2006. "The cost of switching Internet providers in the French broadband industry, or why ADSL has diffused faster than other innovative technologies," Sciences Po publications n°2006-16, Sciences Po.
  5. Klepper, Steven, 1997. "Industry Life Cycles," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 145-81.
  6. 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.
  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. Jackie Krafft & Evens Salies, 2008. "The cost of switching Internet providers in the broadband industry, or why ADSL has diffused faster than other innovative technologies: Evidence from the French case," Post-Print hal-00203512, HAL.
  9. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2003. "Localized Technological Change," 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 200305, University of Turin.
  10. Lionel Nesta, 2005. "Knowledge and Productivity in the World's Largest Manufacturing Corporations," Sciences Po publications 2005-17, Sciences Po.
  11. 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.
  12. Agarwal, Rajshree & Gort, Michael, 2001. "First-Mover Advantage and the Speed of Competitive Entry, 1887-1986," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 161-77, April.
  13. 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.
  14. repec:hal:journl:hal-00212290_v1 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Corrocher, Nicoletta & Malerba, Franco & Montobbio, Fabio, 2007. "Schumpeterian patterns of innovative activity in the ICT field," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 418-432, April.
  16. Jackie Krafft, 1999. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00212290, HAL.
  17. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco & Malerba, Franco, 2003. "Knowledge-relatedness in firm technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-87, January.
  19. Martin Fransman & Jackie Krafft, 2002. "Telecommunications," Post-Print hal-00212269, HAL.
  20. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
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