NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Innovation Policy in a Networked World

Olav Sorenson

NBER Working Paper No. 23431
Issued in May 2017
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Social relationships channel information, influence, and access to scarce resources. As a consequence, social networks – the patterns of these relationships across the members of a community – influence who comes up with important innovations, whether and how rapidly those innovations get adopted, and who has the ability to commercialize them. They therefore also affect the overall rate at which innovation occurs in the economy. This essay provides an introduction to and review of the research on social networks most relevant to innovation, with a particular focus on the earliest stages of the innovation process. It then discusses the likely consequences of a variety of policy interventions that could either reduce the importance of social relationships to innovation or alter the patterns of relationships in ways that might promote innovation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23431

Published: Innovation Policy in a Networked World, Olav Sorenson. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, Lerner and Stern. 2018

This paper is a revision of the earlier Innovation Policy in a Networked World, Olav Sorenson
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