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The sectoral configuration of technological innovation systems: Patterns of knowledge development and diffusion in the lithium-ion battery technology in Japan

Annegret Stephan, Tobias S. Schmidt, Catharina R. Bening and Volker H. Hoffmann

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 4, 709-723

Abstract: Technological innovation systems (TISs) have found favor for analyzing a technology’s innovation dynamics. Complementary to TISs, the sectoral innovation systems approach focuses on sectoral peculiarities regarding innovation. This paper represents a first step towards integrating the sectoral dimension into TIS analysis. This seems particularly relevant for multi-component technologies, since their underlying innovation dynamics involve multiple sectors. We introduce the “sectoral configuration” of a TIS, which relates to the number and types of sectors linked via a TIS’s value chain, and elaborate how the sectoral configuration plays out for a TIS’s functional dynamics. We apply our theoretical framework to the knowledge development and diffusion function. Based on a quantitative analysis of patent data for lithium-ion batteries in Japan (1985–2005), we find that different sectors vary in importance for knowledge development and diffusion, especially with regard to the technology’s evolution over time. Our findings suggest that the sectoral configuration deserves more attention in future TIS analyses. This would support a better understanding of functional mechanisms, and therefore offer the potential to derive enhanced TIS-based policy recommendations regarding the nature and balance between demand-pull, technology-push and interface improvement policies.

Keywords: Technological innovation system; Sector; System functions; Knowledge development and diffusion; Patents; Lithium-ion battery technology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L64 O33 O38 Q28 Q42 Q48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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