Opportunity Knocks

T. B. ASTEBRO, K. Dahlin

Research Policy

November 2005, vol. 34, n°9, pp.1404-1418

Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Technological opportunity, Inventors, Invention, Commercialization

Research on technological opportunity has typically focused on the impact of broad industry characteristics on R&D intensity of firms. This study complements such approaches by examining the impact of a multidimensional vector that measures technological opportunity on independent inventors’ decisions to patent and commercialize inventions. Using data from 559 inventions and controlling for demand, appropriability, and competitive conditions, we found two of four tested dimensions of technological opportunity – technical performance and technical uncertainty – to be significant and important determinants of the likelihood of commercialization. Technical feasibility appears important in affecting patenting but unimportant in affecting commercialization. Technical significance carries a negative, although insignificant, sign conditioning commercialization.