From Wires to Partners: How the Internet Has Fostered R&D Collaborations within Firms

33 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2010 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

Chris Forman

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Nicolas van Zeebroeck

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, iCite

Date Written: December 1, 2011

Abstract

How did the diffusion of the Internet influence research collaborations within firms? We examine the relationship between business use of basic Internet technology and the size and geographic composition of industrial research teams between 1992 and 1998. We find robust empirical evidence that basic Internet adoption is associated with an increased likelihood of collaborative patents from geographically dispersed teams. On the contrary, we find no evidence of such a link between Internet adoption and within-location collaborative patents, nor do we find any evidence of a relationship between basic Internet and single-inventor patents. We interpret these results as evidence that adoption of basic Internet significantly reduced the coordination costs of research teams, but find little evidence that a drop in the costs of shared resource access significantly improved research productivity.

Keywords: R&D organization, geography of innovation, internet adoption, IT investments

JEL Classification: O30, O32, L60

Suggested Citation

Forman, Chris and van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, From Wires to Partners: How the Internet Has Fostered R&D Collaborations within Firms (December 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1725780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1725780

Chris Forman (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Nicolas Van Zeebroeck

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, iCite ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114/4
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+3226503375 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.vanzeebroeck.net

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