Distant Recombination and the Creation of Basic Inventions: An Analysis of the Diffusion of Public and Private Sector Nanotechnology Patents in Canada

Ahmad Barirani, Catherine Beaudry, Bruno Agard

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    This article explores whether the relationship between the breath of technological integration (recombination distance) and the breath of an invention׳s subsequent application (basicness) is moderated by the sector of activity (private or public), science-linkage strength and industry characteristics. Our analysis of Canadian nanotechnology patents granted between 1990 and 1997 shows that although private organizations generally yield smaller rates of basic inventions than public organizations, increases to recombination distance by the former increases invention basicness at a higher rate; increasing reliance upon basic science moderates the relationship between recombination distance and basicness; and increases to recombination distance in emerging science-based industries increases invention basicness at a higher rate. These findings have implications regarding the debate around the efficiency of the academic enterprise model.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue numberFebruary-March
    Pages (from-to)39–52
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Academic enterprise
    • Markets for technology
    • Search heuristics
    • Capabilities
    • knowledge diffusion

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