Alfonso Gambardella

Alfonso Gambardella
Università commerciale Luigi Bocconi | Bocconi · Department of Management and Technology

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119
Publications
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Publications

Publications (119)
Article
Full-text available
Teppo Felin, Alfonso Gambardella, and Todd Zenger argue that managers and entrepreneurs should develop their own theory of value. They present Value Lab, a tool which provides the framework to help businesses create such theories. Their purpose is to help startups and established firms to be more scientific and experimental in creating new value.
Article
Full-text available
To truly create new value, you need a theory. A theory helps you see what others can’t see. Contrarian or unique beliefs provide the underlying raw material of a firm’s theory of value. But beliefs are just rhetoric and cheap talk, unless you identify the specific obstacles and problems that stand in the way of realizing your contrarian beliefs. Th...
Article
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Lean startup and the idea of a business model have become popular in the context of startup experimentation, innovation and strategy. In this paper we discuss and critique the assumptions behind lean startup, specifically how the approach conceives of hypothesis development and startup experimentation. While the scientific aspirations of the approa...
Article
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This paper studies the relationship between two decisions shaping the organizational configuration of a firm: whether to make the upstream resources more general and deployable to more markets (versus keeping them tailored to a few markets) and whether to trade with downstream firms as an upstream supplier of intermediate products and services (ver...
Article
Management practices explain an important part of the heterogeneity in firm productivity, but the literature has largely focused on manufacturing while leaving out research in the industrial setting. A key managerial practice in industrial research projects is the use of autonomy (through the delegation of decision rights). Our paper clarifies the...
Article
This paper employs data from a large-scale survey (InnoS&T) of inventors in Europe, the USA, and Japan who were listed in patent applications filed at the European Patent Office with priority years between 2003 and 2005. We provide evidence regarding the reasons for patenting and the ways in which patents are being utilized. A substantial share of...
Chapter
Trade in disembodied technology – the market for technology – has become common, giving firms more strategic options as they can buy, sell and use their technologies internally. At the industry level, this encourages a division of innovative labour between firms with a comparative advantage in the generation of innovation and those better at the de...
Chapter
Technologies are defined as general purpose (GPTs) when they can be applied, with low adaptation costs, to different products or industries. This implies that the benefit of an innovation, when general purpose, propagates across markets and industries. GPTs are more likely to be developed by diversified firms, or when downstream markets are compose...
Article
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Using a unique database that measures firm-level bribery in Africa and Latin America, we corroborate extant results in the literature that paying bribes deters firm investments in fixed assets. Our contribution is to explore four mechanisms. By adopting a reverse causality approach (Gelman and Imbens, 2013), we find evidence consistent with one of...
Article
Motivating human capital in knowledge-intensive activities is a serious managerial challenge because it is difficult to link rewards to actions or performance. Firms instead might motivate knowledge workers by offering them opportunities to increase personal benefits (e.g., learning, satisfaction) through autonomy in the decision-making process. Ou...
Article
This study examines whether inventors' past stock of inventions affects the rate at which they produce technological breakthroughs, as well as the role of organizational contingencies in moderating this effect. The breakthrough rate depends on the rate at which an inventor generates inventions and the probability that each of these inventions is a...
Article
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In an open innovation relationship, the party that owns a key asset enjoys bargaining power that discourages the investments of the other party in the collaboration. We show that these incentives can be restored by conferring on the weak party the power to take decisions during the research process – e.g., a pharmaceutical firm with manufacturing a...
Article
The economic value of upstream research outcomes has raised increasing attention. Not only are these outcomes central to the development of many innovations, but they are also the object of many transactions in technology. This note discusses a few representative papers that try to better understand the value of patented inventions. It deals with t...
Article
Several streams of literature have examined the phenomenon of “markets for inventions”, that is, the trade of elements of knowledge which are “disembodied” from individuals, organizations, and products. The aims of this paper are to bring together the various streams of research in this area and discuss their major assumptions and limitations, in o...
Article
The combination of a firm capability (i.e., ability to generate general purpose technologies) and a market structure condition (i.e., fragmentation of downstream submarkets) may encourage licensing in an industry. That is, the probability of licensing should increase when product markets are fragmented and technologies support general purposes. Evi...
Article
Patent holders may choose to protect innovations with single patents or to develop portfolios of multiple, related inventions. We propose a simple decision-making model in which patent-holders may allocate resources to either expanding the number of related patents or investing in higher value of patents in the portfolio. We estimate the derived va...
Article
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This study updates the debate on the sources of innovation. Using techniques like factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, and pathfinder analysis, we examine the most influential articles that have dealt with the topic. In addition to confirming the role of technology and demand as sources of innovation, our analysis provides two main findings....
Article
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By using survey data on a large sample of European patents, we estimate the determinants of a composite indicator of patent value that summarizes information from many indirect indicators commonly employed by the literature. The elasticity of man-months on the value of one patent is small, 4%, while that on the number of patents in the portfolio of...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the growing literature on the “market for technology,” a broad term that denotes trade in technology disembodied from physical goods. The market for technology flourished during the nineteenth century in the United States. After several decades of relative decline, the market for technology has once again grown considerably in...
Article
This article focuses on a relatively unappreciated consequence of localized knowledge spillovers: their implications for productivity across skills. Spillovers benefit skilled workers more than unskilled ones, weaken complementarity between them, and widen their productivity gap. To test this theory, the authors use data from 146 U.S. cities and fi...
Article
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This article surveys some of the recent literature on technology markets, and summarizes its main issues and insights. We structure our analysis in three parts: the supply and demand of technology; the factors that condition the formation and growth of technology markets; industry structure and dynamic issues. In addition, we summarize some of the...
Article
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This paper expands the organization theory and evidence on regional industrial agglomerations. We define regional economic activities according to the attributes of the organizations that populate a region and investigate how organizational characteristics influence macro-outcomes at a regional economic level. We focus on two dimensions emerging fr...
Article
This article describes a business model that is growing in prevalence and that carries novel implications: the development of general-purpose technologies for licensing to downstream specialists. In their archetypical format, these general-purpose technologies are constructed in ways that can be employed by different potential downstream licensees,...
Article
The increasing competition in the labor market for human capital pushes firms to create better incentives to manage talented individuals. In this article, we model the optimal employment contract when two features of human capital are present: (i) private information of the employee about his skills; and (ii) the inability to contract on the output...
Article
This paper discusses methods for the harmonization and combination of large-scale patent and trademark datasets with each other and other sources of data. Dictionary- and rule-based approaches to the consolidation of applicant names in patent data are presented and shown to have both benefits and drawbacks in isolation. We combine the two methods a...
Article
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Australian and New Zealand environmental economists have played a significant role in the development of concepts and their application across three fields within their subdiscipline: non-market valuation, institutional economics and bioeconomic modelling. These contributions have been spurred on by debates within and outside the discipline. Much o...
Article
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This paper compares the innovation performance of established pharmaceutical firms with biotech companies, controlling for differences in t he scale and scope of research. We develop a structural model estimated with data on over 3,000 drug R&D projects in preclinical and clinical trials in the US from 1980-94, and followed till 20 05. Key to our a...
Article
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Preliminary and Incomplete: Please do not cite Preliminary Motivation and Fit within the book: There is an important opportunity in applying Economics of Organization to issues of innovation through connecting it to the extensive literature in Innovation Management. Such a dialogue between management and economics can provide a much needed "strateg...
Article
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Gambardella A., Mariani M. and Torrisi S. How 'provincial' is your region? Openness and regional performance in Europe, Regional Studies. By employing 1995-2000 data on European regions, an index of regional openness is constructed based on the share of hotels in the population and the share of the population that speaks a second language. This ind...
Article
Introduction There is little doubt that over the last three decades, the world economy has witnessed the emergence of a cluster of new technologies – that is, a new broad techno-economic paradigm in the sense of Freeman and Perez (1988) – centred on electronic-based information and communication technologies. Such ICT technologies not only gave ris...
Article
This paper employs data from an extensive European survey to produce one of the first systematic assessments of the private economic value of patents. The estimated mean of our patent value distribution is higher than 3 million Euros, the median is about one-tenth, and the mode is around a few thousand Euros. This is in line with previous findings...
Article
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In this work we discuss the impact of the new ICT techno-economic paradigm upon the vertical and horizontal boundaries of the firm and ask whether the change in the sources of competitive advantage has resulted in changes in the size of distribution of firms and also in the degree of concentration of industries. Drawing both on firm-level and natio...
Article
Full-text available
This study updates the debate on the sources of innovation. Using techniques like factor analysis, mul-tidimensional scaling, and pathfinder analysis, we examine the most influential articles that have dealt with the topic. Our analysis provides three main findings. The first more precisely highlights the role of demand as a source of innovation. T...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge-intensive activities are bound by imperfections that limit the provision of in- centives, particularly asymmetric information about inputs and unclear denition of outputs. Thus, performance-based incentives are not possible. We then model a contract in which the �rm can use the delegation of decision rights to provide incentives. The main...
Article
The combination of a firm capability (i.e., the ability to generate technologies with many downstream applications) and a market structure condition (i.e., fragmentation of downstream product markets) may encourage licensing. A proposed model identifies conditions that increase the probability of licensing when product markets are fragmented and te...
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers some reflections on the institutions for the governance of knowledge as an economic asset, and its management in firms. It then relies on a research based on a survey of a large number of patents (PatVal-EU) to discuss specific features of the invention system in Italy. The paper ends by suggesting that Italy is an interesting pos...
Article
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Based on a survey of the inventors of 9017 European patented inventions, this paper provides new information about the characteristics of European inventors, the sources of their knowledge, the importance of formal and informal collaborations, the motivations to invent, and the actual use and economic value of the patents.
Article
Firms have typically tried to profit from their technical innovations by selling them indirectly, embedded in goods and services. Markets for technology, in which innovations are sold or licensed, have been much rarer. Yet, trade in technology has grown systematically over the past 20 years, as reflected in the growth of arrangements such as licens...
Article
This paper reviews the economic literature on the role of fees in patent systems. Two main research questions are usually addressed: the impact of patent fees on the behavior of applicants and the question of optimal fees. Studies in the former group confirm that a range of fees affect the behavior of applicants and suggest that a patent is an inel...
Article
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By using the PatVal-EU dataset we find that the most important determinant of patent licensing is firm size. Patent breadth, value, protection, and other factors suggested by the literature also have an impact, but not as important. In addition, most of these factors affect the willingness to license, but not whether a license actually takes place....
Article
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This paper estimates the determinants of the private economic value of patents from a novel and unusually comprehensive dataset built from a questionnaire survey of patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO). We find that the resource investments made in the research leading to the patent are an important determinant of the value of patent...
Article
This paper develops a theoretical framework in which patents and control of downstream co-specialized assets affect the way firms profit from innovation according to the stage of industry evolution. We argue that in early stages of industry life cycle the effectiveness of patents in protecting innovations or in enhancing their visibility encourages...
Article
Full-text available
Based on a survey of the inventors of 9,017 European patented inventions, this paper provides new information about the characteristics of European inventors, the sources of their knowledge, the importance of formal and informal collaborations, the motivations to invent, and the actual use and economic value of the patents.
Article
We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show that, without some kind of coordination, production of the public knowledge good (science or research software or database) is sub-optimal. Then we demonstrate...
Article
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This paper studies an unusually rich data set of all the 1473 applications to the NSF in economics during 1985-1990. It provides a rare opportunity to analyze not only the characteristics of the researchers whose application was accepted (414 applications in our sample), but also those whose applications were rejected. This implies that one can inv...
Article
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By drawing information from a survey of inventors of 9,017 European patents (PatVal-EU), this paper provides novel and detailed data about the characteristics of the European inventors, the sources of their knowledge, the importance of formal and informal collaborations among researchers and institutions, the motivations to invent, and the actual u...
Article
This paper contributes with empirical findings to European co-inventorship location and geographical coincidence of co-patenting networks. Based on EPO co-patenting information for the reference period 2000-2004, we analyze the spatial con figuration of 44 technology-specific co-inventorship networks. European co-inventorship (co-patenting) activit...
Article
Full-text available
We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show that without some kind of coordination, production of the public knowledge good (science or research software or database) is sub-optimal. Then we demonstrate...
Article
This paper investigates the relationships between firm organization attributes, namely a structure á la Chandler, and their inward looking or “exploitation” attitude in R&D and innovation. We argue that because of sunk costs and learning processes an inward looking behavior is a consequence of increases in firm size. However, it is also produced by...
Article
This paper employs an original dataset for 146 US metropolitan areas to test some propositions that characterize two different models of organizing firms and industries: the managerial firm, epitomized by the work of Alfred Chandler, and the entrepreneurial system, recently highlighted by many authors. We discuss the reasons why, compared to the en...
Article
We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where there tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show, with the aid of a simple model, that without some kind of co-ordination, production of the public knowledge good (science or research software or databa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper estimates the determinants of labour productivity in European NUTS regions during 1989-1996. We compare three potential explanations of regional advantages: Technological capabilities (proxied by regional patents), agglomeration economies (employment density), and openness. To study the latter we use the number of airplane passengers emb...
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The spectacular growth of the software industry in some non-G7 economies has aroused both interest and concern. This paper addresses two sets of inter-related issues. First, we explore the determinants of these successful stories. We then touch upon the broader question of what lessons, if any, can be drawn from for economic development more genera...
Article
This paper explored an unusually comprehensive dataset of more than 2,000 drug R&D projects all over the world during the 1990s. This enabled us to characterise several features of the innovation process in pharmaceuticals, particularly the different role and comparative R&D performance of the large established drug companies vis-à-vis smaller high...
Book
R&D, Innovation and Competitiveness in the European Chemical Industry explores the science & technology base and the dynamic performance of the European "system of innovation" in the chemical industry, with particular attention to its contribution to economic growth through innovation and competitiveness, and its ability to translate its research i...
Article
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This paper links the rise of new industries populated by skill-intensive companies, and the divergence in labour incomes between skills. Our model explains inequality by the fact that as the skilled workers move towards new Silicon-Valley type firms, the reduced complementarity between skilled and unskilled workers in the traditional manufacturing...
Chapter
Although market transactions for technologies, ideas, knowledge or information are limited by several well-known imperfections, there is increasing evidence that they have become more common than in the past. In this paper we argue that these markets change the traditional mindset in which the only available option for a company wishing to introduc...
Article
Drawing on their previous book-length study published in 2000, the authors examine the nature and functioning of markets for technology, namely markets for intermediate technological inputs, as well as their implications for business and public policy. Markets for technology are not easy to define, given the difficulty in making a distinction betwe...
Book
The past two decades have seen a gradual but noticeable change in the economic organization of innovative activity. Most firms used to integrate research and development with activities such as production, marketing, and distribution. Today, firms are forming joint ventures, research and development alliances, licensing deals, and a variety of othe...
Article
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Market-mediated contracts for technology trade are bound by several transaction costs. This paper argues that as these transaction costs become less severe, markets for technology can help improve three market failures: (i) R&D duplications; (ii) externalities in potentially public R&D outcomes; and (iii) deviations from marginal cost pricing in th...
Article
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Introduction: The aim of this chapter is to analyze the chemical industry by using the theoretical framework of a sectoral system of innovation. The chapter describes the knowledge and technological base of the industry and explores the existence of complementarities among knowledge, technologies and products. It also examines the heterogeneity of...
Article
Bien que les transactions portant sur les technologies, les idees, les connaissances ou les informations souffrent d’imperfections, tout indique qu’elles sont plus repandues que par le passe. Dans la presente etude, nous soutenons que ces marches changent la mentalite traditionnelle pour laquelle la seule possibilite qui s’offre a une entreprise de...
Article
This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection a...
Article
In this paper we study how the development of specialized upstream technology suppliers in leading countries improves technology access and lowers investment costs for downstream firms in follower countries. We test this idea using a novel database covering all investments in chemical plants in less developed countries (LDCs) during the 1980s. We f...
Article
Although market transactions for technologies, ideas, knowledge or information are limited by several well-known imperfections, there is evidence that they have become more common than in the past. In this paper we analyze how the presence of markets for technology conditions the technology and corporate strategy of firms. The first and most obviou...
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This paper discusses the results of a two-year research project on the sources of success in regional clusters of entrepreneurship and innovation like Silicon Valley. Our project has studied a number of locations, most of which have shown spectacular rates of growth of information and communcations technology-related activities during the 1990s. Ou...
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The report examines the competitive position of the European pharmaceutical companies and industries, and compares them with the pharmaceutical companies and industries in other parts of the world, particularly the US. Over the last two decades, the industry has experienced some important structural changes, mainly driven by technological and insti...
Article
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This paper estimates the "production function" for scientific research publications in the field of biotechnology. it utilises an exceptionally rich and comprehensive data set pertaining to the universe of research groups that applied to a 1989-1993 research programme in biotechnology and bio-instrumentation, sponsored by the ltalian National Resea...
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This paper purports to explain some recent trends in several advanced economies. Our model shows that the rise of new scientific and technological opportunities, and particularly the opportunities to develop riskier technological projects, is at the basis of the blossoming of small-medium sized high-tech companies in several regions of the world. T...