Morescalchi, Andrea and Pammolli, Fabio and Penner, Orion and Petersen, Alexander M. and Riccaboni, Massimo
The evolution of networks of innovators within and across borders: Evidence from patent data.
EIC working paper series
IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca
Recent studies on the geography of knowledge networks have documented a negative impact of physical distance and institutional borders upon research and development (R&D) collaborations. Though it is widely recognized that geographic constraints and national borders impede the diffusion of knowledge, less attention has been devoted to the temporal evolution of these constraints. In this study we use data on patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) for OECD countries to analyze the impact of physical distance and country borders on inter-regional links in four different networks over the period 1988-2009: (1) co-inventorship, (2) patent citations, (3) inventor mobility and (4) the location of R&D laboratories. We find the constraint imposed by country borders and distance decreased until mid-1990s then started to grow, particularly for distance. We further investigate the role of large innovation "hubs" as attractors of new collaboration opportunities and the impact of region size and locality on the evolution of cross-border patenting activities. The intensity of European cross-country
inventor collaborations increased at a higher pace than their non-European counterparts until 2004,
with no significant relative progress thereafter. Moreover, when analyzing networks of geographical mobility, multinational R&D activities and patent citations we cannot detect any substantial progress in European research integration above and beyond the common global trend.
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