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Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns

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  • Ajay K. Agrawal
  • Iain M. Cockburn
  • Carlos Rosell

Abstract

We examine variation in the concentration of inventive activity across 72 of North America's most highly innovative locations. In 12 of these areas, innovation is particularly concentrated in a single, large firm; we refer to such locations as "company towns.'' We find that inventors employed by large firms in these locations tend to draw disproportionately from their firm's own prior inventions (as measured by citations to their own prior patents) relative to what would be expected given the underlying distribution of innovative activity across all inventing firms in a particular technology field. Furthermore, we find such inventors are more likely to build upon the same prior inventions year after year. However, smaller firms in company towns do not exhibit this myopic behavior; they draw upon prior inventions as broadly as their small-firm counterparts in more diverse locations. In addition, we find that inventions by large firms in company towns have less impact than those produced elsewhere, although the difference is modest, and that the impact is disproportionately appropriated by the inventing firms themselves. Finally, the geographic scope of impact realized by company town inventions is narrower, whether produced by large or small firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajay K. Agrawal & Iain M. Cockburn & Carlos Rosell, 2009. "Not Invented Here? Innovation in Company Towns," NBER Working Papers 15437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15437
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    Cited by:

    1. William R. Kerr, 2010. "Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation," NBER Chapters,in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Dongwoo Kang & Sandy Dall’erba, 2016. "Exploring the spatially varying innovation capacity of the US counties in the framework of Griliches’ knowledge production function: a mixed GWR approach," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 125-157, April.
    3. Nivedita Mukherji & Jonathan Silberman, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity, Knowledge Flows, And Innovation In U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 392-417, August.
    4. Jillian D. Chown & Christopher C. Liu, 2015. "Geography and power in an organizational forum: Evidence from the U.S. Senate Chamber," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 177-196, February.
    5. Lenzi, Camilla, 2016. "Co-invention networks and inventive productivity in US citiesAuthor-Name: Breschi, Stefano," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 66-75.
    6. Yasusada Murata & Ryo Nakajima & Ryosuke Okamoto & Ryuichi Tamura, 2014. "Localized Knowledge Spillovers and Patent Citations: A Distance-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 967-985, December.
    7. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:7:p:1187-1197 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Aurélie LALANNE (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Guillaume POUYANNE ( GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Ten years of metropolization in economics: a bibliometric approach (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    9. Carlino, Gerald & Kerr, William R., 2015. "Agglomeration and Innovation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    10. Jofre-Monseny, Jordi & Marín-López, Raquel & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2011. "The mechanisms of agglomeration: Evidence from the effect of inter-industry relations on the location of new firms," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 61-74.
    11. Aaron Chatterji & Edward Glaeser & William Kerr, 2014. "Clusters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 129-166.
    12. Yasusada Murata & Ryo Nakajima & Ryosuke Okamoto & Ryuichi Tamura, 2013. "Localized knowledge spillovers and patent citations: A distance-based approach (revised version)," GRIPS Discussion Papers 12-18, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    13. repec:bof:bofrdp:urn:nbn:fi:bof-201512111472 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Filippi, S. & Barattin, D., 2014. "Definition and exploitation of trends of evolution about interaction," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 216-236.
    15. Hussinger, Katrin & Wastyn, Annelies, 2011. "In search for the not-invented-here syndrome: The role of knowledge sources and firm success," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-048, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    16. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Raquel Marín-López & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2012. "What underlies localization and urbanization economies? Evidence from the location of new firms," Working Papers 2012/9, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    17. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Raquel Marín-López & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2014. "The Determinants Of Localization And Urbanization Economies: Evidence From The Location Of New Firms In Spain," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 313-337, March.
    18. Ufuk Akcigit & William R. Kerr, 2010. "Growth Through Heterogeneous Innovations," NBER Working Papers 16443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:enr:rpaper:0020 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Peng Zhang & Canfei He & Yifei Sun, 2014. "Agglomeration economies and firm R&D efforts: an analysis of China’s electronics and telecommunications industries," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 53(3), pages 671-701, November.

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    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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