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Persistent Knowledge Specialisation and Intra-Industry Heterogeneity: an Analysis of the Spanish Pharmaceutical Industry

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Abstract

This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of within industry inter-firm variety. Building upon the knowledge-based theory of the firm (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Penrose, 1959; Fransman, 1994), this paper develops two themes. First, the analysis of intra-industry heterogeneity: why do firms that operate in the same industry differ, and why are such differences persistent? Second, the paper investigates the extent to which higher performance is associated with the capacity of firms to expand their knowledge base (rather than with their initial conditions). The main contribution of the paper is empirical, based on a data source consisting of information on documents published in scientific international journals by Spanish pharmaceutical firms. The empirical results support the argument that the firm's knowledge base is a main driver of persistent heterogeneity within industries on the one hand, because of the systematic variety in terms of how firms articulate and organise their research activities and their background knowledge, and on the other hand, because of the positive correlation between the firms' knowledge diversification and performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo D'Este Cukierman, 2004. "Persistent Knowledge Specialisation and Intra-Industry Heterogeneity: an Analysis of the Spanish Pharmaceutical Industry," SPRU Working Paper Series 110, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:110
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    File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp110.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gambardella, Alfonso & Torrisi, Salvatore, 1998. "Does technological convergence imply convergence in markets? Evidence from the electronics industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 445-463, September.
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    3. Patel, Pari & Pavitt, Keith, 1997. "The technological competencies of the world's largest firms: Complex and path-dependent, but not much variety," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 141-156, May.
    4. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    5. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2001. "The Microeconomics of Technological Systems," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245536.
    6. Lionel Nesta & Ludovic Dibiaggio, 2003. "Technology Strategy and Knowledge Dynamics: The Case of Biotech¹," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 331-349.
    7. Narin, Francis & Rozek, Richard P., 1988. "Bibliometric analysis of U.S. pharmaceutical industry research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 139-154, June.
    8. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    Keywords

    Firm heterogeneity; Knowledge diversification; Bibliometric analysis; Spanish pharmaceutical industry;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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