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Comparing Strategies of Collaborative Networks for R&D: an agent-based study


  • Pedro Campos

    () (LIAAD – INESC Porto, L.A and Faculdade de Economia do Porto)

  • Pavel Brazdil

    () (LIAAD – INESC Porto, L.A and Faculdade de Economia do Porto)

  • Isabel Mota

    () (CEF.UP and Faculdade de Economia do Porto)


In this work we analyze the evolving dynamics of different collaboration network strategies that emerge from the creation and diffusion of knowledge. In addition, we aim at describing their most relevant network properties over time. An evolutionary economic approach has been adopted by avoiding the profit-maximization behavior of firms and introducing decision rules that are applied routinely. A Multi-Agent Model with cognitive attributes where agents learn to make their own decisions has been developed. Firms (the agents) can collaborate and create networks for Research and Development (R&D) purposes. We have compared five collaboration strategies (A - Peer-to-Peer complementariness, B –Concentration process, C –Reinforcement Strategy, D - Virtual Collaboration Networks and E - Virtual Cooperation Networks) that were defined on the basis of literature and on empirical evidence. Strategies are introduced exogenously in the simulation. The aims of this paper are threefold: (i) to analyze the importance of the networking effects; (ii) to test the differences among collaboration strategies; and, finally, (iii) to verify the effect of learning. It has been possible to conclude that profit is associated with higher stock of knowledge and with smaller network diameter. In addition, concentration strategies are more profitable and more efficient in transmitting knowledge through the network. These processes reinforce the stock of knowledge and the profit of the firms located in the centers of the networks. Such dynamics is supported by the learning mechanism that generates a kind of collective cognition: in fact, if more firms connect to a particular network, then the center of the network is reinforced, producing feedbacks to all nodes.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Campos & Pavel Brazdil & Isabel Mota, 2011. "Comparing Strategies of Collaborative Networks for R&D: an agent-based study," FEP Working Papers 405, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    2. Jean-Philippe Cointet & Camille Roth, 2007. "How Realistic Should Knowledge Diffusion Models Be?," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 10(3), pages 1-5.
    3. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
    4. Tibor Scitovsky, 1954. "Two Concepts of External Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 143-143.
    5. Floortje Alkemade & Carolina Castaldi, 2005. "Strategies for the Diffusion of Innovations on Social Networks," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 3-23, February.
    6. Swaminathan, Anand & Hoetker, Glenn & Mitchell, Will, 2002. "Network Structure and Business Survival: The Case of U.S. Automobile Component Suppliers," Working Papers 02-0105, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
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    More about this item


    Collaborative networks; Multi-Agent System; Collaboration Strategies; Stock of Knowledge;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other


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