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Absorptive Capacity and Innovation: When Is It Better to Cooperate?

  • Abiodun Egbetokun

    ()

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

  • Ivan Savin

    ()

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

Cooperation can benefit and hurt firms at the same time. An important question then is: when is it better to cooperate. And how can an appropriate partner be selected? In this paper we present a model of inter-firm cooperation driven by cognitive distance, appropriability conditions and external knowledge. Absorptive capacity of firms develops as an outcome of the interaction between absorptive R&D and cognitive distance from voluntary and involuntary knowledge spillovers. Thus, we offer a revision of the original model by Cohen and Levinthal (1989) accounting for recent empirical findings and explicitly modeling absorptive capacity within the framework of interactive learning. We apply that to the analysis of firms' cooperation and R&D investment preferences. While the focus of this paper is limited to a static scenario, where the cognitive distance between cooperating firms is fixed and given exogenously, in Savin and Egbetokun (2012) we address the dynamic approach and provide more extensive simulation results.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2012-056.

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Date of creation: 15 Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-056
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  1. Baum, Joel & Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2009. "Network-independent partner selection and the evolution of innovation networks," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. D. Blueschke & V. Blueschke-Nikolaeva & Ivan Savin, 2012. "New Insights Into Optimal Control of Nonlinear Dynamic Econometric Models: Application of a Heuristic Approach," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-83, June.
  5. repec:dgr:kubcen:200545 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bruno Cassiman & David Pérez Castrillo & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2000. "Endogeneizing know-how flows through the nature of R&D investments," Economics Working Papers 512, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2001.
  7. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder, 2007. "Technological proximity and the choice of cooperation partner," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 45-65, June.
  8. Wiethaus, Lars, 2005. "Absorptive capacity and connectedness: Why competing firms also adopt identical R&D approaches," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(5-6), pages 467-481, June.
  9. de Jong, Jeroen P.J. & Freel, Mark, 2010. "Absorptive capacity and the reach of collaboration in high technology small firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 47-54, February.
  10. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Market Value and Patent Citations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 16-38, Spring.
  11. Mowery, David C. & Oxley, Joanne E. & Silverman, Brian S., 1998. "Technological overlap and interfirm cooperation: implications for the resource-based view of the firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 507-523, September.
  12. Wuyts, S.H.K. & Colombo, M.G. & Dutta, S. & Nooteboom, B., 2004. "Empirical Tests Of Optimal Cognitive Distance," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-007-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  13. Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
  14. Ivan Savin & Abiodun Egbetokun, 2013. "Emergence of Innovation Networks from R&D Cooperation with Endogenous Absorptive Capacity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  15. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Strategic spillovers in patent races," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 139-146, March.
  16. Gamal Atallah, 2003. "Information sharing and the stability of cooperation in research joint ventures," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(6), pages 531-554.
  17. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  18. Anja Dettmann & Sidonia von Proff, 2010. "Inventor collaboration over distance – a comparison of academic and corporate patents," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2010-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  19. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
  20. Oxley, Joanne E, 1997. "Appropriability Hazards and Governance in Strategic Alliances: A Transaction Cost Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 387-409, October.
  21. Robin Cowan & Nicolas Jonard & Jean-Benoit Zimmermann, 2007. "Bilateral Collaboration and the Emergence of Innovation Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(7), pages 1051-1067, July.
  22. Flatten, Tessa C. & Engelen, Andreas & Zahra, Shaker A. & Brettel, Malte, 2011. "A measure of absorptive capacity: Scale development and validation," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 98-116, April.
  23. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 2000. "Meet me halfway: research joint ventures and absorptive capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 995-1012, October.
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