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The role of inter-sectoral learning in knowledge development and diffusion: Case studies on three clean energy technologies

Abhishek Malhotra, Tobias S. Schmidt and Joern Huenteler

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2019, vol. 146, issue C, 464-487

Abstract: Studies in technological innovation systems (TIS) have made significant progress in explaining the dynamics of industry formation for emerging technologies, recognizing that learning is an interactive process. Recent literature suggests that knowledge development and diffusion among different sectors can play a role in the establishment of a TIS. However, we lack an understanding of how the characteristics of different sectors involved in a TIS influence inter-sectoral learning, i.e. purposive learning-by-interacting between different sectors involved in a TIS. To address this gap, we examine how patterns of inter-sectoral learning vary across three TISs – solar photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, and lithium-ion batteries. Using concepts from the literature on sectoral systems of innovation, we show that the characteristics of the different sectors involved in the TIS influence patterns of inter-sectoral learning. Thus, we provide a systematic way of explaining differences in the importance of learning-by-interacting between different technologies observed in the empirical literature, helping policymakers anticipate potential failures in inter-sectoral learning, and we suggest measures to address them. We also demonstrate the value of explicitly analyzing the sectoral configuration in future TIS analyses, and hence contribute to more closely integrating the literatures on TIS and sectoral systems of innovation.

Keywords: Technological innovation system; Sectoral system of innovation; Inter-sectoral learning; Wind power; Solar PV; Lithium-ion batteries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2019.04.018

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