Révélation ouverte de connaissances, information incomplète et formation de liens de collaboration en R&D = Open knowledge disclosure, collective innovations and incomplete information
PENIN, Julien (2004) Révélation ouverte de connaissances, information incomplète et formation de liens de collaboration en R&D = Open knowledge disclosure, collective innovations and incomplete information. Thèses de doctorat, Université Louis Pasteur.
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The topic of this thesis deals with behaviours of open knowledge disclosure. In particular, we investigate the economic motives that encourage firms to adopt such behaviours. What are the reasons that lead rational profit-seeking firms to let their researchers publish their work in scientific journals or present their researches in conferences? We put a specific emphasis on reputation effects that are triggered by open knowledge disclosure and that can facilitate, for instance, the formation of cooperative links among agents who are part of the innovation process. We start this thesis by a reminder of the classical theory of knowledge externalities. We show that the economic work on knowledge disclosure finds its source within the theory of knowledge externalities. It is by endogenising knowledge externalities that economic scholars came to deal with behaviours of open knowledge disclosure. Then we give a definition of open knowledge disclosure, which we consider as a particular kind of knowledge disclosure, and we provide empirical evidence of such behaviours of open knowledge disclosure. We also review the different economic reasons that have been investigated in the economic literature and that can explain why firms openly disclose their knowledge. In the third chapter we explore in more depth one of these reasons, namely open knowledge disclosure as a signal of competences aiming at breaking adverse selection problems that arise when firms try to cooperate in R&D. We show with the help of a simple model that, due to problems of adverse selection, firms willing to collaborate in R&D may wish to disclose knowledge in order to increase their reputation, which in turn may facilitate the establishment of links with other agents. In other words, we explain open knowledge disclosure by combining two different parts of the economic literature: Economics of innovation and economics of incomplete information. The fourth chapter aims at exploring the link between open knowledge disclosure, R&D collaborations and the presence of incomplete information within the innovation process by using numerical simulations. For this purpose, we develop a theoretical model describing the formation of R&D collaborations among firms, with specific emphasis put on the role played by open knowledge disclosure during this process. The model is then tested with numerical simulations. In the last chapter, we focus on the role of patents as devices to openly disclose knowledge. By combining a theoretical discussion on patents with the first elements of a case study in the field of biotechnologies we show that firms may sometimes value the function “disclosure of the knowledge underlying a given innovation” of patents as much as the function “protection of a given innovation”.
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