IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Invention and Collaboration Networks in Latin America: Evidence from Patent Data


  • Carlos Bianchi

    (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)

  • Pablo Galaso

    (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)

  • Sergio Palomeque

    (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración)


This research aims to analyze the collaboration networks associated with the processes of invention and patenting in Latin American countries between 1970 and 2017. To do so, we apply social network analysis techniques to a rich database containing information from patents developed by Latin American inventors and registered in the USPTO during such period. We build and analyze three types of collaboration networks: networks of inventors, networks of innovators (i.e. patent owners) and networks of countries in the region. The study of the structural properties and the evolution of such networks allow us to present unprecedented empirical evidence on the forms of interaction and collaboration to invent in Latin America. This evidence shows that collaboration networks in Latin America are highly fragmented and disconnected. Moreover, networks are notoriously foreign-oriented, i.e. the linkages with external nodes are critical compared to the low presence of local connections. Major differences among the countries of the region can be observed, which allow us to identify different behaviors according to how much they use the patent system and the relative development of the national networks. In a region which has been historically characterized by high heterogeneity, this research allows recognizing specific patterns of innovation at the national level. In sum, the contributions of the paper are three fold. First, it presents novel empirical findings with unique information on interaction patterns at the Latin American level. Second, it allows analyzing the whole region and the main trends in the light of the large research background on invention and development from this region. Finally, it discusses some stylized facts in national cases, with the aim of encouraging new research questions for further research agenda.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Bianchi & Pablo Galaso & Sergio Palomeque, 2020. "Invention and Collaboration Networks in Latin America: Evidence from Patent Data," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 20-04, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-04-20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graf, Holger & Broekel, Tom, 2020. "A shot in the dark? Policy influence on cluster networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(3).
    2. Cantner, Uwe & Graf, Holger, 2006. "The network of innovators in Jena: An application of social network analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 463-480, May.
    3. Arza, Valeria & Marín, Anabel & López, Emanuel & Stubrin, Lilia, 2018. "Redes de conocimiento asociadas a la producción de recursos naturales en América Latina: análisis comparativo," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), August.
    4. Leonardo Costa Ribeiro & Isabel de Azeredo Moura & Luiza Teixeira de Melo Franco & Márcia Siqueira Rapini & Eduardo da Motta e Albuquerque, 2009. "The scientific and technological trajectories of four Latin American countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Brazil," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td362, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
    5. Fabio Montobbio & Valerio Sterzi, 2011. "Inventing together: exploring the nature of international knowledge spillovers in Latin America," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 53-89, February.
    6. Gabriela Dutrénit & Valeria Arza, 2015. "Features of interactions between public research organizations and industry in Latin America: the perspective of researchers and firms," Chapters, in: Eduardo Albuquerque & Wilson Suzigan & Glenda Kruss & Keun Lee (ed.), Developing National Systems of Innovation, chapter 3, pages 93-119, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Léa Velho, 2005. "S&T institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean: an overview," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 95-108, April.
    8. Jasjit Singh, 2005. "Collaborative Networks as Determinants of Knowledge Diffusion Patterns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 756-770, May.
    9. Furtado, André Tosi & Scandiffio, Mirna Ivonne Gaya & Cortez, Luis Augusto Barbosa, 2011. "The Brazilian sugarcane innovation system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 156-166, January.
    10. Bertola, Luis & Ocampo, Jose Antonio, 2012. "The Economic Development of Latin America since Independence," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199662142, Decembrie.
    11. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Cristian Jara-Figueroa & Sergio G. Petralia & Mathieu P. A. Steijn & David L. Rigby & César A. Hidalgo, 2020. "Complex economic activities concentrate in large cities," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 4(3), pages 248-254, March.
    12. Francisco Sagasti, 2004. "Knowledge and Innovation for Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3306.
    13. Allan Dahl Andersen, 2015. "A functions approach to innovation system building in the South: the pre-Pro�lcool evolution of the sugarcane and biofuel sector in Brazil," Innovation and Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1-21, April.
    14. Rodrigo Arocena & Judith Sutz, 2000. "Looking At National Systems Of Innovation From The South," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 55-75.
    15. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R., 2010. "Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics as Evolutionary Processes," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 51-127, Elsevier.
    16. Editors, 2014. "International Journal of Systems Science," International Journal of Systems Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(12), pages 1-1, December.
    17. repec:idb:brikps:439 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Jérôme Danguy, 2017. "Globalization of innovation production: A patent-based industry analysis," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 75-94.
    19. Galaso, Pablo & Kovářík, Jaromír, 2018. "Collaboration Networks and Innovation: How to Define Network Boundaries," MPRA Paper 85108, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Dutrénit, Gabriela & Natera, José Miguel & Puchet Anyul, Martín & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2019. "Development profiles and accumulation of technological capabilities in Latin America," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 396-412.
    21. Guan, Jiancheng & Zhang, Jingjing & Yan, Yan, 2015. "The impact of multilevel networks on innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 545-559.
    22. Eduardo Albuquerque & Wilson Suzigan & Glenda Kruss & Keun Lee (ed.), 2015. "Developing National Systems of Innovation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 16062.
    23. Gao, Yanyan & Zang, Leizhen & Roth, Antoine & Wang, Puqu, 2017. "Does democracy cause innovation? An empirical test of the popper hypothesis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1272-1283.
    24. Shadlen, Kenneth C., 2017. "Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199593903, Decembrie.
    25. Jos� Antonio Ocampo & Juliana Vallejo, 2012. "Economic Growth, Equity and Human Development in Latin America," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 107-133, February.
    26. Pablo Galaso, 2018. "Network topologies as collective social capital in cities and regions: a critical review of empirical studies," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 571-590, March.
    27. Vicente German-Soto & Joana Cecilia Chapa Cantú, 2018. "Structural change in the international patenting level: the TRIPs agreement's role," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(2), pages 131-158.
    28. Gustavo Crespi & Gabriela Dutrénit (ed.), 2014. "Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Development," Springer Books, Springer, edition 127, number 978-3-319-04108-7, November.
    29. Paus, Eva, 2014. "Latin America and the middle-income trap," Financiamiento para el Desarrollo 36816, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    30. Forero-Pineda, Clemente, 2006. "The impact of stronger intellectual property rights on science and technology in developing countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 808-824, July.
    31. Elisa Giuliani & Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Andrés Matta, 2019. "Straining but not thriving: understanding network dynamics in underperforming industrial clusters," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 147-172.
    32. Denis MAILLAT, 1998. "From the industrial district to the innovative milieu : Contribution to an analysis of territorialised productive organisations," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1998017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    33. Genoni, María Eugenia & Sánchez, Margarita & Saavedra-Chanduví, Jaime & Duryea, Suzanne & Parker, Richard & Aggleton, Peter & Buvinic, Mayra & Massiah, Ernest & Arias, Omar & Ñopo, Hugo R. & Mazza, Ja, 2004. "Social Inclusion and Economic Development in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 439.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Fischer, Bruno & Meissner, Dirk & Vonortas, Nicholas & Guerrero, Maribel, 2022. "Spatial features of entrepreneurial ecosystems," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 27-36.
    2. Carlos Bianchi & Pablo Galaso & Sergio Palomeque, 2021. "The tradeoffs of brokerage in innovation networks: a study of Latin American cities," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 21-21, Instituto de Economía - IECON.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Pablo Galaso & Jaromír Kovářík, 2021. "Collaboration networks, geography and innovation: Local and national embeddedness," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 349-377, April.
    2. Carlos Bianchi & Camilo Martínez, 2023. "STI policy conventions in Uruguay. An analysis of political party platforms 2004–2019," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 40(2), pages 260-281, March.
    3. Maximiliano Marzetti & Rok Spruk, 2023. "Long-Term Economic Effects of Populist Legal Reforms: Evidence from Argentina," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 65(1), pages 60-95, March.
    4. Yoshimichi Murakami, 2021. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality: Evidence from Chile," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 407-438, April.
    5. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2021. "Augmented human development in the age of globalization," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 74(4), pages 946-975, November.
    6. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2018. "Más de cien años de avances en el nivel de vida: El caso de Colombia," Cuadernos de Historia Económica 46, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. Esteves, Rui & Lennard, Jason & Kenny, Seán, 2021. "The Aftermath of Sovereign Debt Crises: A Narrative Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 16166, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Hernandez, Carlos Eduardo & Tovar, Jorge & Caballero/Argáez, Carlos, 2022. "Tunneling when Regulation is Lax: The Colombian Banking Crisis of the 1980s," MPRA Paper 115662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Cruz-Martinez, Gibran, 2017. "Is there a Common Path that could have Conditioned the Degree of Welfare State Development in Latin America and the Caribbean?," SocArXiv 2y3mb, Center for Open Science.
    10. Li Li & Haifen Lin & Yibo Lyu, 2022. "Technology cluster coupling and invulnerability of industrial innovation networks: the role of centralized structure and technological turbulence," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 127(3), pages 1209-1231, March.
    11. Baten, Joerg & Llorca-Jaña, Manuel, 2021. "Inequality, low-intensity immigration and human capital formation in the regions of Chile, 1820-1939," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    12. José Antonio Ocampo, 2016. "A brief history of the international monetary system since Bretton Woods," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-97, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Palma, J. & Pincus, J., 2022. "Is Southeast Asia falling into a Latin American style “middle-income trap†?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2267, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    14. Deepak Nayyar, 2016. "Structural transformation in the world economy: On the significance of developing countries," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-102, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Justin R. Bucciferro, 0. "A lucrative end: abolition, immigration, and the new occupational hierarchy in southeast Brazil," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 0, pages 1-28.
    16. Eslava, Francisco & Valencia Caicedo, Felipe, 2023. "Origins of Latin American inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 119763, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Vicente Pinilla & Henry Willebald, 2021. "Transition and Change in World Agriculture during the Interwar Years," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 2109, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    18. Luis Bertola & José Antonio Ocampo, 2022. "The Latin American economy during the first decades of the 21st century," Documentos de trabajo 68, Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar.
    19. Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri. & Adolfo Meisel-Roca. & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo., 2016. "La Gran Depresión en Colombia: Un estímulo a la industrialización, 1930-1953," Cuadernos de Historia Económica 39, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    20. Fabio Andrés Díaz Pabón & María Gabriela Palacio Ludeña, 2021. "Inequality and the Socioeconomic Dimensions of Mobility in Protests: The Cases of Quito and Santiago," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 12(S2), pages 78-90, April.

    More about this item


    patents; invention; social network analysis; collaboration networks; Latin America;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • P48 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-04-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Lorenza Pérez (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.