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The roles of different intermediaries in innovation networks: A network-based approach

Annalisa Caloffi (), Federica Rossi () and Margherita Russo ()

Department of Economics (DEMB) from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Economics "Marco Biagi"

Abstract: Greater understanding of what factors promote the formation of innovation networks and their successful performance would help policymakers improve the design of policy interventions aimed at funding R&D projects to be carried out by networks of innovators. In this paper, we focus on the organizations that can play the role of intermediaries in the networks, facilitating the involvement of other participants and promoting communication and knowledge flows within the network. Based on an original empirical dataset, capturing the relationships between organizations involved in a set of publicly-funded programmes in support of innovation networks, we have tried to identify what are the main features of different types of intermediaries based on an analysis of their positions within networks of relationships. We have observed that agents that occupy broker positions – linking agents that are not connected to each other – are more likely to be found in technologically turbulent environments, while the agents that occupy intercohesive positions – bridging cohesive communities of network agents – operate in more stable contexts. Intermediaries in general are more likely to be local governments. However, besides this, it is not possible to clearly identify organizations that, by nature, are more likely to be either brokers or intercohesive agents: different innovation networks may require different organizations to mediate relationships between the other participants.

Keywords: Innovation policy; innovation networks; social network analysis; intermediaries; brokers; intercohesion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D85 O31 O32 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: pages 25
Date: 2014-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-ino, nep-net, nep-ppm, nep-sbm, nep-soc, nep-tid and nep-ure
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