'Inequality' of innovation: skewed distributions and the returns to innovation in Dutch manufacturing

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33 Citations (Scopus)


It is a commonly held view that returns to innovation are highly skewed, that is, not all firms innovate, and the returns received from innovation for the firms that are successful innovators are highly concentrated in the hands of the few. Using data from two community innovation surveys for the Netherlands, this article investigates the properties of the distribution of the returns to innovation for different types of innovation. It finds that the returns to innovation are indeed highly skewed, but the distribution of the returns is shaped by the degree of novelty of the innovation - the more novel the innovation, the greater the concentration of the returns. The article also explores the distribution of the returns across different sectoral contexts, finding that low-technology sectors are characterised by higher performance diversity among innovators than high-technology sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83
Number of pages102
JournalEconomics of Innovation and New Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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