Chapter 3: The Dynamics of Networks and the Evolution of Industries: A Survey of the Empirical Literature
Lorenzo Zirulia1 INTRODUCTION 1. The aim of this chapter is to review the empirical literature on interfirm technological agreements. Together with the phenomenon it describes, this literature has increased exponentially in recent years. Several suggestions on the rationale and effects of interfirm technological agreements have been proposed, receiving various degrees of confirmation by the empirical evidence. Interestingly, these efforts have been interdisciplinary, with contributions coming from disciplines such as economics, sociology and management (see Caloghirou et al., 2003; Gulati et al., 2000; Hagedoorn et al., 2000; Powell and Grodal, 2004, for previous recent surveys). After a discussion of the empirical evidence, this chapter suggests a perspective that is relatively uncommon in the literature: interfirm technological agreements and R&D networks are seen as structural elements in the evolution and dynamics of industries. Our main point is that the existing empirical literature can constitute the basis for an appreciative theory of the role of R&D networks in industry evolution, which should be particularly appealing for economists interested in improving their knowledge of the fundamental link between technological progress and market structure. Furthermore, such a theory can be conceived of as a step towards further empirical analysis and formal modeling. The chapter is structured as follows. Section 2 is introductory and preliminary: we define interfirm technological agreements, discuss the sources of data, and provide some basic evidence on the relevance and the evolution of the phenomenon over time, and on the broad motivations leading firms to collaborate. Sections 3 and 4...
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