In recent studies, Information and Communication Technologies have been key drivers of innovation and economic growth throughout the world. Because the Information and Communication Technology products and services require intensive knowledge, leading countries invested in their innovation systems to operate more effectively and efficiently. Studies on innovation have investigated the knowledge base of countries and their respective relationships with their national institutions, and subsequent economic growth to identify factors which have led to success. However, the approaches of previous studies omit the constituents of the knowledge base while focusing on quantitative aspects such as size. In this article, I propose a novel approach to exploring the knowledge base at a global level by undertaking a network analysis of patents. In this framework, the global knowledge network is defined as a set of countries and respective technological similarities between countries as vertices and edges. Applying this framework, the research questions are addressed qualitatively by identifying the structure of the network and how it has evolved. The analysis results indicate that the global knowledge network consists of a cluster of developed countries, and the cluster is linked with developing countries through Japan, U.S.A. and China. They also show that the Information and Communication Technology leaders changed from Great Britain and France to U.S.A. in 1920s, from U.S.A. to Japan in 1970s. The framework is expected to be applied to economic studies of innovation and knowledge bases at a global level.
Global knowledge network Information and Communication Technology Technology leadership Network analysis Patents
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This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), which is funded by the Ministry of Education (Grant No. 2013R1A1A2058665).
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