Science, Social Networks and Spillovers

35 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2006

See all articles by Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

Jasjit Singh


Date Written: December 26, 2006


Although prior empirical research has established an association between science and the widespread diffusion of knowledge, the exact mechanism(s) through which science catalyzes information flow remains somewhat ambiguous. This paper investigates whether the knowledge diffusion associated with science-based innovation stems from the norm of openness and incentives for publication, or whether scientists maintain more extensive and dispersed social networks that facilitate the dissemination of tacit knowledge. Our analysis supports the first mechanism: We track the movement of knowledge with patent citations, and find that science-based innovations diffuse more rapidly and widely, even after controlling for the underlying social networks of researchers as measured using information on prior collaborations. We also find that publication and social networks act as substitutes in the diffusion of knowledge.

Suggested Citation

Sorenson, Olav and Singh, Jasjit and Singh, Jasjit, Science, Social Networks and Spillovers (December 26, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management ( email )

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Jasjit Singh (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

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77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

INSEAD ( email )

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+65 67995341 (Phone)


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