This study provides a new, more comprehensive measurement of technological novelty. Integrating insights from the existing economics and management literature, we characterize inventions ex ante along two dimensions of technological novelty: Novelty in Recombination and Novelty in Knowledge Origins. For the latter dimension we distinguish between Novel Technological and Novel Scientific Origins. For each dimension we propose an operationalization using patent classification and citation information. Results indicate that the proposed measures for the different dimensions of technological novelty are correlated, but each conveys different information. We perform a series of analyses to assess the validity of the proposed measures and compare them with other indicators used in the literature. Moreover, an analysis of the technological impact of inventions identified as novel shows that technological novelty increases the variance of technological impact and the likelihood of being among the positive outliers with respect to impact. This holds particularly for those inventions that combine Novelty in Recombination with Novelty in Technological and Scientific Origins. Overall, the results support our indicator as ex ante measure of technological novelty with the potential to drive radical technological change.
About Reinhilde Veugelers
Prof Dr. Reinhilde Veugelers is a full professor at KULeuven (BE) at the Department of Management, Strategy and Innovation. She is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel since 2009. She is also a CEPR Research Fellow and a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences. From 2004-2008, she was on academic leave, as advisor at the European Commission (BEPA Bureau of European Policy Analysis). She was the President-Elect of EARIE (European Association for Research in Industrial Economics). She currently serves on the ERC Scientific Council. She is a member of the "Research, Innovation, and Science Policy Experts" (RISE) high level group advising Commissioner Carlos Moedas.
She was a visiting scholar at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Sloan School of Management, MIT, Stern Business School, NYU (US), UCL (BE), ECARES/ ULBrussels, (BE) Paris I (FR), GSE-Barcelona (ES), UMaastricht (NL).
With her research concentrated in the fields of industrial organisation, international economics and strategy, innovation and science, she has authored numerous well cited publications in leading international journals. Her research combines analytical frameworks, using micro-economics, game theory and economics of information models, with empirical, mostly econometric testing on large datasets. Specific recent topics include cooperative R&D, international technology transfers through MNEs, young innovative companies, innovation for climate change, industry science links and their impact on firm’s innovative productivity, performance of technology transfer offices at universities, designing university spin-off contracts, explaining scientific productivity, researchers’ international mobility. She coordinates a large, multidisciplinary research project on radical innovations and one on the impact assessment of RTD policy instruments.
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