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Research Network Position and Innovative Performance: Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry


  • Maureen McKelvey

    () (University of Gothenburg, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, School of Business, Economics and Law)

  • Bastian Rake

    () (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Graduate College "The Economics of Innovative Change")


This paper explores how and why collaboration with different types of partners and the position within a research network can affect firms' innovative performance in terms of product innovations. A detailed empirical analysis is carried out in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. This industry is characterized by a rapidly developing, complex, and dispersed knowledge base, where one would expect positive benefits from collaboration and the position within a network for innovative output. The paper uses a unique dataset in pharmaceutical cancer research based on scientific co-publications and new drug approvals. We apply social network analysis and count data regressions. We observe that collaboration with a diverse set of partners from academia and the network position in terms of eigenvector centrality is positively related to product innovation. However, we do not find a general positive association between collaboration, particularly with biotechnology companies, and product innovation or between central network positions and product innovation. Therefore, these results require a re-assessment of the role of scientific collaboration and biotechnology companies in the development of the pharmaceutical industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Maureen McKelvey & Bastian Rake, 2012. "Research Network Position and Innovative Performance: Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-021, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-021

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Falk Strotebeck, 2014. "Running with the pack? The role of Universities of applied science in a German research network," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 34(2), pages 139-156, October.

    More about this item


    Research Networks; Research Collaboration; Innovative Performance; Pharmaceuticals;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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