, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 1407–1438 | Cite as

Using PageRank in the analysis of technological progress through patents: an illustration for biotechnological inventions

  • Andreas ReinstallerEmail author
  • Peter Reschenhofer


This paper examines whether PageRank algorithms are a valid instrument for the analysis of technical progress in specific technological fields by means of patent citation data. It provides evidence for patent data in biotechnology. Recent literature has been critical with regard to the use of PageRank for the analysis of scientific citation networks. The results reported in this paper indicate, however, that with some minor adaptations and careful interpretation of the results the algorithm can be used to capture some important stylised facts of technical progress and the importance of single patents relatively well especially if compared to indicators based on direct inward citations only.


Patent citations Technological progress PageRank algorithm Biotechnology 

JEL Classification

O31 O32 O34 



The research leading to this paper has received funding in the context of the Austria 2025 Research Project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the Federal Ministry Economic Affairs and Research (BMWFW), and the Austrian National Bank (OeNB). Support by the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development is also acknowledged. We thank Kathrin Hoffmann for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)ViennaAustria

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