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Predicting innovative firms using web mining and deep learning


  • Kinne, Jan
  • Lenz, David


Innovation is considered as a main driver of economic growth. Promoting the development of innovation through STI (science, technology and innovation) policies requires accurate indicators of innovation. Traditional indicators often lack coverage, granularity as well as timeliness and involve high data collection costs, especially when conducted at a large scale. In this paper, we propose a novel approach on how to create firm-level innovation indicators at the scale of millions of firms. We use traditional firm-level innovation indicators from the questionnaire-based Community Innovation Survey (CIS) survey to train an artificial neural network classification model on labelled (innovative/non-innovative) web texts of surveyed firms. Subsequently, we apply this classification model to the web texts of hundreds of thousands of firms in Germany to predict their innovation status. Our results show that this approach produces credible predictions and has the potential to be a valuable and highly cost-efficient addition to the existing set of innovation indicators, especially due to its coverage and regional granularity. The predicted firm-level probabilities can also directly be interpreted as a continuous measure of innovativeness, opening up additional advantages over traditional binary innovation indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Kinne, Jan & Lenz, David, 2019. "Predicting innovative firms using web mining and deep learning," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-001, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:19001

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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Coyle & David Nguyen, 2019. "No plant, no problem? Factoryless manufacturing and economic measurement," Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) Discussion Papers ESCoE DP-2019-15, Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE).
    2. Axenbeck, Janna & Breithaupt, Patrick, 2019. "Web-based innovation indicators: Which firm website characteristics relate to firm-level innovation activity?," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-063, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Breithaupt, Patrick & Kesler, Reinhold & Niebel, Thomas & Rammer, Christian, 2020. "Intangible capital indicators based on web scraping of social media," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-046, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Falco J. Bargagli-Stoffi & Jan Niederreiter & Massimo Riccaboni, 2020. "Supervised learning for the prediction of firm dynamics," Papers 2009.06413,

    More about this item


    Web Mining; Web Scraping; R&D; R&I; STI; Innovation; Indicators; Text Mining; Natural Language Processing; NLP; Deep Learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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