Robin Cowan

Robin Cowan
Maastricht University | UM · UNU-MERIT

About

116
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (116)
Research
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We study whether student-advisor gender and race couples matter for publication productivity of Ph.D. students in South Africa. We consider the sample of all Ph.D.s in STEM graduating between 2000 and 2014, after the recent systematic introduction of doctoral programs in this country. We investigate the joint effects of gender and race for the whol...
Preprint
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The paper studies racial and gender homophily in student supervision relationships in a context of social transformations, South Africa academia. We develop a technique to separate choice homophily from that induced by the system. Comprising two permutation tests repeated at two levels of aggregation, system and departments. We find clear evidence...
Article
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This paper is about the South African job market for Ph.Ds. Ph.D. to first job mobility involves the preferences of both the hiring institution and the candidate. Both want to make the best choice and here institutional prestige plays a crucial role. A university’s prestige is an emergent property of hiring interactions, so we use a network perspec...
Article
When seeking to improve science in emerging economies, uncertainty exists whether PhD training in an emerging economy can yield comparable results to PhD training in the developed world. Scientific achievements may vary because of excellent training at good universities, but also because excellent students select (and are selected by) good universi...
Article
We present a choice model based on agent interaction. Interaction is modeled as face-to-face communication that takes place on a regular periodic lattice with decision-makers exchanging information only with immediate neighbors. We investigate the long-run (equilibrium) behavior of the resulting system and show that for a large range of initial con...
Article
The idea of social relations shaping business and production relations between economic agents is not new. Production relations may become socially embedded and may exhibit homophily. We work towards understanding an embeddedness–homophily connection with the support of a case study of the decline of a formerly dominant handloom weavers' community...
Article
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Strategic prescriptions drawn from pooled cross-sectional evidence of firm performance effects are not necessarily warranted. This is because firm characteristics can influence both the mean and variance of firm performance. Strategic inferences are warranted if empirically observed effects reflect increases in mean firm performance. If they reflec...
Article
This paper builds on a growing literature that takes into account the fact that firms in an industry may be interdependent with regard to their corporate reputations, thus sharing a “reputation commons.” We argue that the theory of public goods can help us to understand the interdependencies that link corporate reputations and to frame the contexts...
Article
This paper analyzes empirically whether expansion of a university system affects local industry innovation. We examine how the opening of new university schools in Italy during 1985–2000 affected regional innovation. We find that creation of new schools increased regional innovation activity already within five years. On average, an opening of a ne...
Article
Do world-leading researchers from developing countries contribute to upgrading locally, or do they disengage from the local context? The paper investigates the scientific collaborations of university-based science and technology researchers in the database of the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), and analyses the co-authorships of r...
Article
Although intuitively appealing (and common), drawing network strategy implications from empirical evidence of network performance effects in pooled cross-section is not necessarily warranted. This is because network positions can influence both the mean and variance of firm performance. Strategic prescriptions are warranted if empirically observed...
Article
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In this paper we model interactions between organizational structures, job stress, emotional contagion and organization performance. An organization is modelled as solving problems or performing tasks. Tasks enter the organization and can be addressed by a subset of its members. Organization structure determines which agents can address which probl...
Article
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When agents use informal interaction to exchange knowledge, their production relations may develop as emergent properties of their social relations and may exhibit homophily. The Saliyar community cluster in India is an archetype of this. This cluster’s experience is investigated on how its thickly homophilous networks have steered it from dominanc...
Article
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We present a model of word-of-mouth interaction. Agents interact on fixed, regular social network and exchange information in order to make a choice between multiple alternatives. Communicated information includes rumors. The model also includes the inertia in economic behavior. We analyze the organization of behavior in the long run. We show that...
Article
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Empirical research on strategic alliances has focused on the idea that alliance partners are selected on the basis of social capital considerations. In this paper we emphasize instead the role of complementary knowledge stocks (broadly defined) in partner selection, arguing not only that knowledge complementarity should not be overlooked, but that...
Article
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Financial support from the program “Risques collectifs et situations de crise ” of CNRS is gratefully acknowledged. 1 2
Article
The article focuses on the evolution of innovation networks and strategic alliances. It states that organizations create partnerships to access competence or technological innovations they do not possess. It mentions that econometric research of alliance formation focuses more on social capital reasons for strategic alliance formation instead of te...
Article
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Properties of strategic alliance networks such as small worlds, skewed link distri- butions and patterns of repeated tie occurrences are often explained in terms of social capital theories. A simple model shows that merely assuming that rms must have
Article
The Demise of Nuclear Power? Lessons for Democratic Control of Technology. By MoroneJoseph G. and WoodhouseEdward J.. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. Pp. xii, 172. $22.50, cloth; $6.95, paper. - Volume 50 Issue 1 - Robin Cowan
Article
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This paper analyzes empirically the channels through which university re-search affects industry innovation. We examine how the opening of new science, medicine and engineering departments in Italy during 1985-2000 affected regional innovation systems. We find that creation of a new university department increased regional innovation activity 3-4 y...
Article
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We present a discrete choice model of consumption that incorporates two empirically validated aspects of consumer behaviour: inertia in consumption and interaction among consumers. We specify the interaction structure as a regular lattice with consumers interacting only with immediate neighbours. We investigate the equilibrium behaviour of the resu...
Article
Network formation is often said to be driven by social capital considerations. A typical pattern observed in the empirical data on strategic alliances is that of small world networks: dense subgroups of firms interconnected by (few) clique-spanning ties. The typical argument is that there is social capital value both to being embedded in a dense cl...
Article
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Innovation is a source of increasing productivity, but it is also a source of stress. Psychological research shows that moderate stress increases the productivity of an actor, but above a certain level, additional stress decreases productivity. Stress is reduced by coping behaviour of the actor, and in addition it is buffered by social relations. H...
Article
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Over the twentieth century universities in the industrialized world have evolved from being "universities of culture" to "universities of innovation." Policy makers and universities themselves see that one of their major roles is supporting industrial innovation and thus economic growth. We argue that this rests on a mis-cconception of the nature o...
Article
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This paper initially presents an exploratory spatial data analysis which indicates the presence of small-scale geographical variations in levels and standard deviations of labour productivity across England and Wales in 2005. We identify the presence of spatial autocorrelation for both measures. This finding motivates a subsequent review and extens...
Article
In this paper, we model the formation of innovation networks as they emerge from bilateral decisions. In contrast to much of the literature, here firms only consider knowledge production, and not network issues, when deciding on partners. Thus, we focus attention on the effects of the knowledge and information regime on network formation. The effec...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is concerned with the geographical pattern of demand. We present a model of consumption that incorporates habit formation and information exchange among consumers in geographically fixed neighborhoods. A special, simplified version of the model is analyti-cally solved using technical tools from chemistry and biology. The full specificati...
Article
We examine a society in which individuals gain utility from income and social approbation. Approbation is given to an unobservable trait, signalled through social mobility. Two environments are studied: in one players care for absolute approbation; in the other relative approbation matters. In both environments, individuals' quest for approbation b...
Article
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We model knowledge diffusion in a population of agents situated on a network, interacting only over direct ties. Some agents are by nature traders, others are by nature "givers": traders demand a quid pro quo for information transfer; givers do not. We are interested in efficiency of diffusion and explore the interplay between the structure of the...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyzes empirically the channels through which university research affects industry innovation. We examine how the opening of new science, medicine and engineering departments in Italy during 1985-2000 affected regional innovation systems. We find that creation of a new university department increased regional innovation activity 3-4 ye...
Article
Full-text available
We model knowledge diffusion as agents exchanging ideas through a barter process. The model builds on empirical observations of informal knowledge trading among competing agents. The process takes place on a network substrate in which agents are nodes, and can trade only with those to whom they have direct links (edges). When two agents meet, they...
Chapter
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In this paper we develop a model of R&D alliance formation. Pairs of firms combine their knowledge in an attempt to innovate. Whether this attempt is successful depends in part on whether the pair has been successful in the past: accumulated experience teaches a pair of firms how to innovate together, but at the same time increases the similarity o...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we develop a model of R&D alliance formation. Pairs of firms combine their knowledge in an attempt to innovate. Whether this attempt is successful depends in part on whether the pair has been successful in the past: accumulated experience teaches a pair of firms how to innovate together, but at the same time increases the similarity o...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we model the formation of innovation networks as they emerge from bilateral decisions. In contrast to much of the literature, here firms only consider knowledge production, and not network issues when deciding on partners. Thus we focus attention on the effects of the knowledge and information regime on network formation. The effectiv...
Article
In this paper we model the formation of innovation networks as they emerge from bilateral decisions. In contrast to much of the literature, here firms only consider knowledge production, and not network issues when deciding on partners. Thus we focus attention on the effects of the knowledge and information regime on network formation. The effectiv...
Article
Full-text available
The simplest rationale for the existence of a publicly funded university is that it provides some form of public good. If all the outputs of a university were privately owned, and privately appropriable, there would be no need for public funding. Either firms would fund the research and training which could be internalized by themselves, or student...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we study a society in which individuals gain utility from income and from social approbation. Income is correlated with class. Approbation is given to an unobservable trait, which must be signalled through the agent’s social mobility, i.e. class change. Mobility is driven by a simple mechanism involving inheritance, effort and ability...
Article
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all had a helpful hand in shaping this work. But, the views expressed and the defects that remain are ours. SUMMARY We present an original modeling tool that can be used to study the social mechanisms by which individual software developers' efforts are allocated within large and complex open source projects. The dynamical agent-based model is firs...
Article
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Major firms have joined the open-source movement and have chosen to apply that development methodology in their projects. Our model examines the links between openness and innovation in software technologies by revealing how disclosure affects the technical quality of computer applications and the profits of myopic and far-sighted firms. The model...
Article
This paper models knowledge diffusion as a barter process in which agents exchange different types of knowledge. This is intended to capture the observed practice of informal knowledge trading. Agents are located on a network and are directly connected with a small number of other agents. Agents repeatedly meet those with whom direct connections ex...
Article
In this paper, we model the impact of networks on knowledge growth in an innovating industry. Specifically, we compare two mediums of knowledge exchange: random interaction, and the case in which interaction occurs on a fixed architecture. In a simulation study, we investigate how the medium of knowledge exchange contributes to knowledge growth und...
Article
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We develop a model of an innovative industry to examine how information technology, by both enhancing matching efficiency and knowledge sharing, can have an ambiguous effect on the total amount of innovation. We consider a population of firms holding different knowledge expertise, and forming partnerships to conduct joint R&D. We assume that bringi...
Article
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Much of modern micro-economics is built from the starting point of the perfectly competitive market. In this model there are an infinite number of agents — buyers and sellers, none of whom has the power to influence the price by his actions. The good is well-defined, indeed it is perfectly standardized. And any interactions agents have is mediated...
Article
This paper examines the evolution of networks when innovation takes place as a result of agents bringing together their knowledge endowments. Agents freely form pairs creating a globally stable matching. paired agents combine their existing knowledge to create new knowledge. We study the properties of the dynamic network formed by these interaction...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we model the formation of innovation networks as they emerge from bilateral actions. The effectiveness of a bilateral collaboration is determined by cognitive, relational and structural embeddedness. Innovation results from the recombination of knowledge held by the partners to the collaboration, and the extent to which agents’ knowle...
Article
In this paper we model the development of consumption when there are interactions between consumers. The consumer recognizes three reference groups: peer, distinction, and aspiration. The interplay of aspiration and distinction can lead to ‘waves’ in consumption; for example, the avant-garde consumption of up-market pioneers is copied by other type...
Article
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The debate on software intellectual property rights (IPRs) has not only highlighted fundamental issues regarding the scheme of protection that software enjoys, it has also pointed out major gaps in the representation of computer programs as economic goods. In this respect, various interpretations of software propose a limited outlook by referring o...
Article
This paper models the phenomenon of collective invention as it exists when the disclosure of information among competing entities creates a positive feedback that allows for high innovation rates and fast knowledge accumulation. Develop a formal model that accounts for the dynamics of knowledge and collective invention and examining how the archite...
Article
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This paper is about the behaviour of a society in which learning individuals play a Prisoner’s Dilemma that guides social promotion and demotion. The direct effect of the payoff-based socialization that is implemented here is segregation. However, segregation permits the survival of cooperation as it (unintendedly) preserves cooperators from detrim...
Book
In traditional economics models of perfect competition agent's interactions are all mediated through the market. Interactions are anonymous, global and indirect. This is a powerful model, but we see many instances in which one, and sometimes all, of the previous characteristics fail to hold true. The type of agent you are, or your identity, can aff...
Article
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[eng] In this paper the evolution of networks is studied in an environment where innovation takes place as a resuit of agents bringing together their knowledge endowments. Agents freely form pairs that must constitute a stable matching in which the rankings are made on the basis of the innovative ability of any possible pair. Once innovation has ta...
Article
The debate on software intellectual property rights (IPRs) has not only highlighted fundamental issues regarding the scheme of protection that software enjoys, it has also pointed out major gaps in the representation of computer programs as economic goods. In this respect, various interpretations of software propose a limited outlook by referring o...
Article
Full-text available
Counterfactual conditional statements are ubiquitous in any scientific endeavour. This paper contains an analysis of the nature of counterfactual conditionals and the conditions under which they are considered assertable by scientists. The paper then applies this analysis to the use of counterfactuals in evolutionary economics, arguing that because...
Article
The evolution of networks is studied in an environment where innovation takes place as a result of agents bringing together their knowledge endowments. Agents freely form pairs that must constitute a stable matching in which the rankings are made on the basis of the innovative ability of any possible pair. Once innovation has taken place the new kn...
Article
Full-text available
This paper models a dynamic innovation process to examine the relationship between levels of R and D and market structure. In contrast to most of the literature, here R and D increases firms' knowledge stocks, making future R and D less costly. This creates a feedback by which market structures can affect levels of R and D. In general while an incr...
Article
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A model in which agents on both sides of the market are subject to informational cascades isexamined. In an uncertain environment with asymmetric information agents tend to beoveroptimistic about the state of the world, a result that fits with empirical evidence on financingnew technologies. This overoptimism based on mutual illusions makes the sys...
Article
The creation of expert systems is one way in which knowledge is codified. In creating an expert system, in general there are three aspects to the codification process: creating a model of the knowledge to be codified; creating the language in which to express the model; and writing messages representing the knowledge in that language. These aspects...
Article
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The impacts of the New Economy are not limited only to recently developed technologies, but involve new opportunities for more “traditional” technologies to develop. Knowledge-based industries, and information technologies in particular, hold both promises and threats in many fields. However, as technical know-how is both an input to and an output...
Chapter
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This paper models knowledge creation and diffusion as processes involving many agents located on a network. Knowledge diffusion takes place when an agent broadcasts his knowledge to the agents to whom he is directly connected. Knowledge creation arises when agents receive new knowledge which is combined with their existing knowledge stocks. Thus bo...
Article
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This paper models price movements in the market for fine art. Consumers of art are assumed to value art for its own sake, but are also subject to externalities in consumption whereby the utility of consuming the work of a painter is affected by the consumption choices of other consumers of art. Painters are arranged in space, and positive externali...
Article
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This paper examines the processes of knowledge transfer in the services sector in the economic reality, increasingly affected by the use of information and communication technologies. An important focus is to explore whether the knowledge transfer channels, traditionally used in manufacturing, can also be made use of in services. To this end, the a...
Article
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This paper analyses the propensity to withdraw European patent applications within a regional sample of Italian applicants. The procedure for obtaining a granted patent from the EPO is composed of a series of sequential and selective steps imposing additional costs to the applicants. Accordingly, we argue that early withdrawals - i.e. those occurri...
Article
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This paper has been prepared under the EC TSER Programme's TIPIK Project,
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We model a situation in which agents must choose between two technologies that operate under local, positive network externalities. We find that decentralized behaviour can lead to the emergence of a technical standard, but can also result in a variety of other equilibria. Policy to eliminate non-standardized equilibria can be effected, but in some...
Article
Empirical analyses of research and development find strong evidence that these activities tend to cluster geographically. Clusters are thought to emerge from the presence of localized positive externalities. This paper presents a model of this clustering behaviour. We find that phase changes in clustering exist both as the strength of local externa...
Article
This paper attempts a greater precision and clarity of understanding concerning the nature and economic significance of knowledge and its variegated forms by presenting 'the skeptical economist's guide to 'tacit knowledge''. It critically reconsiders the ways in which the concepts of tacitness and codification have come to be employed by economists...
Article
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We briefly review the rationale behind technological alliances and provide a snapshot of their role in global competition, especially insofar as it is based around intellectual capital. They nicely illustrate the increased importance of horizontal agreements and thus establish the relevance of the topic. We move on to discuss the organisation of in...
Article
The process by which knowledge or information evolves and spreads through the economy involves changing its nature between tacit and codified forms. The process of codification includes three aspects: model building, language creation and the writing of messages. Recent technical changes in several technologies have impinged on these three activiti...