Formal and informal external linkages and firms’ innovative strategies. A cross-country comparison

Isabel Bodas Freitas, Tommy Clausen, Roberto Fontana & Bart Verspagen


Firms increasingly rely upon external actors for their innovation process. Interaction with these actors may occur formally (i.e. through a collaboration agreement) or informally (i.e. external actors acts as sources of knowledge). This paper analyses the reasons why firms consider it to be important to develop formal and informal external linkages in the innovation process by looking at the role played by firms’ innovative strategies and by taking into account that a complementarity or substitutive relationship might exist between formal and informal linkages. Data come from the Third Community Innovation Survey (CIS 3), where we have access to firm level micro-data from Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK.

Keywords: External knowledge sources, Innovation strategy, Formal cooperation, Multinomial Probit

JEL codes: O31, O33, O38

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872