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

Diemer, A and Regan, T (2022) No inventor is an island: Social connectedness and the geography of knowledge flows in the US. Research Policy, 51 (2). ISSN 0048-7333 OPEN ACCESS

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.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Economics
Additional Information:

© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

This is an open access article under the Creative Commons CC BY license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funder Name: Swedish Research Council Formas
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 08:57
Date of first compliant deposit: 09 Feb 2022
Subjects: Product innovation
Technological innovation
Information and communication technology, social aspects
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 05:57
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/2224
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