The role of scientific and market knowledge in the inventive process: evidence from a survey of industrial inventors

  • Alessandra Scandura


This paper investigates the contribution of external-to-the-firm knowledge to the inventive process inside companies by exploiting a survey of industrial inventors combined with patent data. In the empirical analysis, inventors’ knowledge sourcing strategies are employed as explanatory factors for their inventive performance. The results suggest that both the separate and joint use of external scientific and market knowledge are positively and significantly associated with inventors’ quantity and quality of inventions. In addition, higher levels of education act as a moderating factor of the joint use of scientific and market knowledge. Tracing a positive link between external knowledge and individual inventive process is relevant for research as well as policy, considering that knowledge exchange across a wide range of organisations is at the core of the innovation policy agendas in most countries.


Market knowledge Scientific knowledge Patents Inventors 

JEL Classification

O31 O32 



I am grateful to the editor and two anonymous reviewers for insightful comments and precious suggestions. I wish to thank the participants of the LSE Economic Geography Ph.D. Seminar (London, 2013), the INGENIO-PhD Days (Valencia, 2013), Triple Helix Conference (London, 2013) and ERSA Congress (Palermo, 2013) for helpful comments and discussions. All errors are my own. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under Grant agreement n. SSH-CT-2010-266959; Project PICK-ME.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Statistics “Cognetti de Martiis”University of TorinoTurinItaly

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