Knowledge Diffusion and Innovation

Knowledge Diffusion and Innovation

Modelling Complex Entrepreneurial Behaviours

Piergiuseppe Morone and Richard Taylor

Modern economies are described as ‘knowledge based’. This book investigates the meaning of such a statement, assessing the relevance of knowledge and the channels through which knowledge is exchanged, both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective.

Chapter 5: Empirical Studies on Knowledge Flows

Piergiuseppe Morone and Richard Taylor

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, evolutionary economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation

Extract

This chapter deals with empirical studies on learning patterns and knowledge flows. As discussed in the first part of this book, knowledge flow is a rather complex phenomenon which can be broken up into several processes. In Chapter 2 we distinguished between knowledge gain and knowledge diffusion processes; the former referring to formal and controlled flows and the latter referring to informal and largely uncontrolled flows. This classification is also useful when one has to define empirical measures of knowledge flows. In fact, as discussed earlier on, knowledge gains relate to flows of disembodied knowledge which could be measured by using, for instance, data on technologies and patents trade (Arora et al. 2002).1 However, the applied researcher faces a much harder task when attempting to measure informal knowledge diffusion processes. In this case there are few available data in the official statistics;2 hence, extra efforts need to be undertaken in order to gather sound information on the direction and the intensity of such flows. This second part of the book, being about empirical research, will shed some light on the advances in the literature on measuring informal knowledge flows as well as on the relevance of model validation as a tool for testing models against the real world. Specifically, in the following sections of this chapter we will concentrate our attention on a recent body of empirical literature which has developed some new and well-crafted techniques to measure informal knowledge flows. Then, in Chapter 6 we will present...

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