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Preferential Attachment and Pattern Formation in R&D Networks - Plausible explanation or just a widespread myth?

Author

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  • Michael Fritsch

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Muhamed Kudic

    () (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Wissenschaftsstatistik, Essen)

Abstract

The emergence and solidification of network patterns is typically explained by the preferential attachment rule. The underlying logic is that a small number of actors which are characterized by an above average degree attract links at a higher rate than others. We raise the question as to what extent the wide spread preferential attachment explanation holds true in the context of inventor networks. To shed some light on this issue we investigate co-patenting relationships among inventors in the field of laser technology in West Germany from 1961 to 2005. From a system perspective, the development of the inventor networks is in line with the pattern that is implied by the preferential attachment logic. However, we find high levels of fluidity of micro-level relationships that put the typical transaction cost and trust-based explanation of tie formation processes into question.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Muhamed Kudic, 2016. "Preferential Attachment and Pattern Formation in R&D Networks - Plausible explanation or just a widespread myth?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2016-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2016-005
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    File URL: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2016_005.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:19:y:2015:i:05:n:s1363919615500504 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Guido Buenstorf, 2007. "Evolution on the Shoulders of Giants: Entrepreneurship and Firm Survival in the German Laser Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(3), pages 179-202, May.
    3. Hagedoorn, John, 2002. "Inter-firm R&D partnerships: an overview of major trends and patterns since 1960," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 477-492, May.
    4. Guido Buenstorf & Michael Fritsch & Luis F. Medrano, 2015. "Regional Knowledge, Organizational Capabilities and the Emergence of the West German Laser Systems Industry, 1975-2005," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 59-75, January.
    5. Grupp, Hariolf, 2000. "Learning in a Science-Driven Market: The Case of Lasers," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 143-172, March.
    6. Melissa A. Schilling & Corey C. Phelps, 2007. "Interfirm Collaboration Networks: The Impact of Large-Scale Network Structure on Firm Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(7), pages 1113-1126, July.
    7. Rank, Charlotte & Rank, Olaf & Wald, Andreas, 2006. "Integrated Versus Core-Periphery Structures in Regional Biotechnology Networks," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-85, February.
    8. Michael Fritsch & Luis F. Medrano Echalar, 2015. "New technology in the region - agglomeration and absorptive capacity effects on laser technology research in West Germany, 1960-2005," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1-2), pages 65-94, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:cai:inndbu:inno_058_0243 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:techno:v:80-81:y:2019:i::p:40-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Vincent Frigant & Stéphane Miollan & Maëlise Presse & David Virapin, 2019. "Quelles frontières géographiques pour les systèmes d’innovation technologique ?. Une analyse par les co-brevets appliquée au véhicule à pile à combustible," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 243-273.
    4. Mitze, Timo & Strotebeck, Falk, 2017. "Modeling interregional research collaborations in German biotechnology using industry directory data: A quantitative social network analysis," MPRA Paper 83392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Michael Fritsch & Moritz Zoellner, 2017. "The Fluidity of Inventor Networks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferential attachment; inventor networks; system stability; micro-level instability; laser industry;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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