Firm Matching in the Market for Technology: Harnessing Creative Destruction

87 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017 Last revised: 15 Jun 2019

Date Written: June 13, 2019


We develop and estimate a model of firm-to-firm matching in the market for technology between technology providers and adopters. The model provides a framework for identifying business stealing and business creation in the market for technology from the effect of technological proximity and market proximity on transaction outcomes. We create a dataset that tracks interactions in the market for technology across a broad range of exchange modes between publicly held US companies with at least one patent in the USPTO. Estimates of the matching equation imply that the probability of a match between firms is increasing with respect to technological and market proximity, and decreasing with respect to the interaction of the two. Combined with the identification framework, this sign combination implies that both business creation and business stealing exist. Our framework reveals substantial heterogeneity in the relevance of business stealing in transactions across industries, technological fields, firm size, time periods and modes of exchange. We offer recommendations for managers of companies that are either technology providers or adopters.

Keywords: Market for technology, Patents, Innovation, Licensing, Cross-licensing, R&D alliances, Patent transfers, Business stealing

JEL Classification: O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Arqué Castells, Pere and Spulber, Daniel F., Firm Matching in the Market for Technology: Harnessing Creative Destruction (June 13, 2019). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 18-14, Available at SSRN: or

Pere Arqué Castells (Contact Author)

University of Groningen (Innovation Management and Strategy) ( email )

Nettelbosje 2
Innovation Management and Strategy
Groningen, 9747 AE


Daniel F. Spulber

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

Kellogg Global Hub
2211 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-8675 (Phone)
847-467-1777 (Fax)

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