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No inventor is an island: social connectedness and the geography of knowledge flows in the US

Diemer, Andreas and Regan, Tanner (2022) No inventor is an island: social connectedness and the geography of knowledge flows in the US. Research Policy, 51 (2). ISSN 0048-7333

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.respol.2021.104416

Abstract

Do informal social ties connecting inventors across distant places promote knowledge flows between them? To measure informal ties, we use a new and direct index of social connectedness of regions based on aggregate Facebook friendships. We use a well-established identification strategy that relies on matching inventor citations with citations from examiners. Moreover, we isolate the specific effect of informal connections, above and beyond formal professional ties (co-inventor networks) and geographic proximity. We identify a significant and robust effect of informal ties on patent citations. Further, we find that the effect of geographic proximity on knowledge flows is entirely explained by informal social ties and professional networks. We also show that the effect of informal social ties on knowledge flows is greater for new entrepreneurs or ‘garage inventors’, for older or ‘forgotten’ patents, and for flows across distant technology fields. It has also become increasingly important over the last two decades.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/research-pol...
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z13 - Social Norms and Social Capital; Social Networks
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 12:06
Last Modified: 05 May 2022 07:00
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/113337

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