Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 459–480

Inventor networks in emerging key technologies: information technology vs. semiconductors

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00191-011-0248-y

Cite this article as:
Graf, H. J Evol Econ (2012) 22: 459. doi:10.1007/s00191-011-0248-y


This paper analyzes the development of the German knowledge base measured by co-classifications of patents by German inventors and relate this technological development to changes in the structure of the underlying inventor networks. The central hypothesis states that technologies that become more central to the knowledge base are also characterized by a higher connectedness of the inventor network. The theoretical considerations are exemplified in a comparative study of two patenting fields—information technology and semiconductors. It turns out that information technology shows the highest increases in patents, but only a moderate move towards the center of the knowledge base. By contrast, semiconductors develops towards a key technology, despite a moderate increase in the number of patents. The dynamic analysis of inventor networks in both fields shows an increasing connectedness and the emergence of a large component in semiconductors, but not in information technology, which is in line with the expectations.


Knowledge relatedness Inventor networks Interdisciplinary research Patents Key technology 

JEL Classification

O31 Z13 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and Business AdministrationFriedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany

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