Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 785–810

Schumpeterian patterns of innovation and the sources of breakthrough inventions: evidence from a data-set of R&D awards

  • Roberto Fontana
  • Alessandro Nuvolari
  • Hiroshi Shimizu
  • Andrea Vezzulli
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00191-012-0287-z

Cite this article as:
Fontana, R., Nuvolari, A., Shimizu, H. et al. J Evol Econ (2012) 22: 785. doi:10.1007/s00191-012-0287-z


This paper examines the relationship between Schumpeterian patterns of innovation and the generation of breakthrough inventions. Our data source for breakthrough inventions is the “R&D 100 awards” competition organized each year by the magazine Research & Development. Since 1963, this magazine has been awarding this prize to 100 most technologically significant new products available for sale or licensing in the year preceding the judgment. We use USPTO patent data to measure the relevant dimensions of the technological regime prevailing in each sector and, on this basis, we provide a characterization of each sector in terms of the Schumpeter Mark I/Schumpeter Mark II archetypes. Our main finding is that breakthrough inventions are more likely to emerge in ‘turbulent’ Schumpeter Mark I type of contexts.


Innovation patterns Radical innovations  Schumpeter Mark I and Mark II 

JEL Classification

O31 O33 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Fontana
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alessandro Nuvolari
    • 3
  • Hiroshi Shimizu
    • 4
  • Andrea Vezzulli
    • 5
  1. 1.University of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.KITeS – Bocconi UniversityMilanoItaly
  3. 3.LEM – Sant’Anna School of Advanced StudiesPisaItaly
  4. 4.Institute of Innovation ResearchHitotsubashi UniversityTokyoJapan
  5. 5.UECE-ISEGUniversitade Técnica de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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