|Dr. Giorgio Triulzi
Looking for the right path. Technology Dynamics, Inventive Strategies and Catching-up in the Semiconductor Industry
Bart Verspagen & Önder Nomaler
The evolution of technology is a key driver of economic and societal change. To achieve a sound understanding of the process of economic development it is crucial to study how firms invent, learn and improve technology and how technology and firms’ inventive strategies co-evolve. We develop a new theoretical framework to study how firms tackle engineering design challenges to make new and better semiconductor devices. We particularly focus on the inventive strategies followed by catching-up firms. We identify the structure of the system of engineering problems within the Semiconductor industry and describe its evolution. We reveal incumbents and new firms’ comparative advantage patterns across technology life cycle stages and show what predicts the probability that a firm will keep contributing to expand the technology frontier. The novel citation network analysis methods designed in this dissertation are of great value for the study of technology and scientific evolution. The theoretical insights provided by this work have important implications for innovation studies and evolutionary economics. Precise policy and managerial suggestions for technology development strategies are also discussed in the thesis.