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Scandura, Alessandra
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
53rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional Integration: Europe, the Mediterranean and the World Economy", 27-31 August 2013, Palermo, Italy
This paper investigates the role of external knowledge in the patenting activity of inventors that work inside firms, i.e. industrial inventors. It does so with the aim of showing that inventors who combine the use of different sources of knowledge, i.e. scientific and market sources, display a better performance than those who do not. The empirical analysis makes use of an original survey of industrial inventors carried out in three European regions in 2012, aimed at exploring the inventive process of inventors working inside firms, matched to patent data from the European Patent Office. The empirical analysis employs a so-called productivity approach in which the inventors? knowledge sourcing strategies are used as explanatory factors for the inventors? output. This approach has been widely used in the management literature to analyse the relevance of knowledge flows for firms and is, to the best of the author?s knowledge, one of the first attempts to apply it at the inventor?s level. The findings show that there is a significant and positive relation between both quantity and quality of inventors? patenting activity and the joint use of scientific and market knowledge, supporting the hypothesis that inventors merge the technological potential of scientific knowledge with the market potential of market knowledge to produce more and better inventions. These findings are stronger for inventors? productivity (quantity) than for their quality. In particular, the sole use of knowledge from market sources is significantly related to the quality of inventors in some of the estimations, showing that inventors? quality may benefit from inter-firms relations only. On the other hand, the separate use of scientific sources of knowledge does not seem to have any relation with inventor?s performance. Furthermore, mobile inventors seem to benefit more than non-mobile ones from external knowledge, most likely because of their greater openness towards external-to-the-firm organisations. The robustness check further shows that, when accounting for the uneven distribution of forward citations across different patent technological classes and regions, the findings are consistent with the baseline estimations. The findings of this paper are interesting because tracing a positive link between the use of external knowledge and the inventive process at individual level is relevant for research as well as for policy - considering that knowledge exchange across a wide range of organisations is at the core of the innovation policy agendas in most countries.
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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