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External technology sources: Embodied or disembodied technology acquisition

  • Bruno Cassiman
  • Reinhilde Veugelers

This paper analyzes the choice between different innovation activities of a firm. In particular, we study the technology acquisition decision of the firm, i.e. its technology BUY decision as part of the firm's innovation strategy. We take a closer look at the different types of external technology acquisition where we distinguish two broad types of technology buy decisions. On the one hand, the firm can acquire new technology which is embodied in an asset that is acquired such as new personnel or (parts of) other firms or equipment. On the other hand, the firm can obtain new technology disembodied through a licensing agreement or by outsourcing the technology development from an R&D contractor or consulting agency. Through a series of Probit regressions, we discuss variables that might affect external technology acquisition choices of the firm and pay special attention to the firm's abilities to scan the market for technology and to absorb the technology acquired. Furthermore, we analyze the effect of different appropriation regimes on the decision of the firm to source technology.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 444.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:444
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "How to License Intangible Property," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 567-89, August.
  2. Spence, Michael, 1984. "Cost Reduction, Competition, and Industry Performance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-21, January.
  3. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  4. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Utterback, James M & Abernathy, William J, 1975. "A dynamic model of process and product innovation," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 3(6), pages 639-656, December.
  6. Veugelers, Reinhilde & Cassiman, Bruno, 1999. "Make and buy in innovation strategies: evidence from Belgian manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 63-80, January.
  7. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "Evaluating technological information and utilizing it : Scientific knowledge, technological capability, and external linkages in biotechnology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 91-114, June.
  8. Granstrand, Ove & Sjolander, Soren, 1990. "The acquisition of technology and small firms by large firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 367-386, June.
  9. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1990. "Complementarity and External Linkages: The Strategies of the Large Firms in Biotechnology," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 361-79, June.
  10. De Bondt, Raymond & Slaets, Patrick & Cassiman, Bruno, 1992. "The degree of spillovers and the number of rivals for maximum effective R &D," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 35-54, March.
  11. Veugelers, Reinhilde, 1997. "Internal R & D expenditures and external technology sourcing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-315, October.
  12. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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