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Atypical combination of technologies in regional co-inventor networks

Milad Abbasiharofteh, Dieter Kogler () and Balazs Lengyel

No 2055, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) from Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography

Abstract: Novel combinations of technologies are generated from existing knowledge embedded in collaborative work. Albeit inventors tend to develop specialized skills and participate in specialized work, it is their collaboration with peers with varied experience that facilitates the production of radical novelty. While this is of key importance, we lack full understanding on how the evolution of inventor collaborations is related to the nature of technological combination. In this paper, we analyse how the role of technological specialization and variety in evolving co-inventor networks is related to the creation of ‘atypical’ inventions in European NUTS2 regions. By analysing the community structure of co-inventor networks in each region, we find that the share of atypical patents is growing where co-inventor communities are strongly specialized in certain technologies and these communities are also bridged by collaborations. Evidence suggests that linking communities of dissimilar technological profiles favours atypical knowledge production the most. Our work implies that to produce radical innovative outcomes, regions must support knowledge production in specialized inventor communities and sponsor the bridging of collaborations to induce diversity.

Keywords: patents; novelty; network communities; technological similarity; network of places (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F23 D85 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11, Revised 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-ino, nep-net, nep-sbm, nep-tid and nep-ure
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