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The evolution of networks of innovators within and across borders: Evidence from patent data

  • Andrea Morescalchi


    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Fabio Pammolli


    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Orion Penner


    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Alexander M. Petersen


    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Massimo Riccaboni


    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

Recent studies on the geography of knowledge networks have documented a negative impact of physical distance and institutional borders upon research and development (R&D) collaborations. Though it is widely recognized that geographic constraints and national borders impede the diffusion of knowledge, less attention has been devoted to the temporal evolution of these constraints. In this study we use data on patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) for OECD countries to analyze the impact of physical distance and country borders on inter-regional links in four different networks over the period 1988-2009: (1) co-inventorship, (2) patent citations, (3) inventor mobility and (4) the location of R&D laboratories. We find the constraint imposed by country borders and distance decreased until mid-1990s then started to grow, particularly for distance. We further investigate the role of large innovation "hubs" as attractors of new collaboration opportunities and the impact of region size and locality on the evolution of cross-border patenting activities. The intensity of European cross-country inventor collaborations increased at a higher pace than their non-European counterparts until 2004, with no significant relative progress thereafter. Moreover, when analyzing networks of geographical mobility, multinational R&D activities and patent citations we cannot detect any substantial progress in European research integration above and beyond the common global trend.

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Paper provided by IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca in its series Working Papers with number 1/2014.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision: Jan 2014
Publication status: Published in EIC working paper series
Handle: RePEc:ial:wpaper:1/2014
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