The Diffusion of Informal Knowledge and Innovation Performance: A sectoral approach

Abraham Garcia & Hugo Hollanders


This paper tries to quantify the effect of diffusion of informal knowledge on the innovative performance of European firms using data derived from the 3rd Community Innovation Survey. When firms are asked whether or not they have introduced new products or processes, they were also asked to which degree such innovations were developed in-house. These degrees were captured by the CIS variables InPdtW and InPcsW. These variables ranged from 1 (Mainly done by the firm) to 3 (Mainly done by other enterprises). The focus of this paper is to investigate the impact of diffusion of informal knowledge. We combine the previous variables with another variable which reflects firms that were not doing any formal collaboration with other institutions. If an innovative firm has no formal collaboration arrangements and the innovation has not been done mainly by the firm, then diffusion of informal knowledge is considered to be the main driver of the innovation.

The idea is that informal channels are accessible to all firms. This paper tries to quantify the impact of such flows of knowledge on firms’ innovation performance. To do this, a two step procedure is followed:

-In a first step, a latent variable for diffusion of informal knowledge is defined and estimated based on firms’ characteristics.

-In a second step, the latent diffusion variable is introduced as a regressor in a probit/tobit model.

Keywords: Knowledge flows, innovation, dynamic equations, sectoral innovation, CIS.

JEL: C34, O32, O31

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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