The community structure of business establishments and its properties: evidence from joint patent applications


We investigate what properties are associated with knowledge-creating communities. Using unique Japanese patent data and a community-detection method, we separate Japanese business establishments into communities composed of connections through joint patent applications. By comparing actual and random communities, we reveal that communities are similar in the total patents applied for, the total citations, and geographic distance and that they are dissimilar in their knowledge distance. The findings can benefit those who develop collaboration strategies in firms and create government policies to nurture collaborations among business establishments.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hiroyasu Inoue.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

I thank Kentaro Nakajima for his helpful comments. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (18K04615).

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Inoue, H. The community structure of business establishments and its properties: evidence from joint patent applications. Evolut Inst Econ Rev 15, 465–475 (2018).

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  • Network
  • Patent
  • Business establishment
  • Community
  • Innovation

JEL Classification

  • O31
  • O34