Incremental by Design? On the Role of Incumbents in Technology Niches: An Evolutionary Network Analysis

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In this paper, we study the evolution of governance structures in technological niches. At the case of publicly funded research projects and the resulting cooperation networks related to smart grid and systems in Denmark, we raise the questions which actors over time inherit a central position – associated with high influence on the development of research trajectories – in the network. We are particularly interested in what role incumbent actors, connected to the old regime of fossil-based energy production, play in shaping future technological trajectories. The protected space theoretically created by such public research funding offers firms an environment to experiment in joint learning activities on emerging technologies, shielded from the selection pressure on open markets, thereby facilitating socio-technological transitions. Generally, the engagement of large incumbent actors in the development of emerging technologies, particularly in joint research projects with entrepreneurial ventures, is positively perceived, as their resource endowment enables them to stem large projects and bring them all the way to the market.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFoundations of Economic Change : A Schumpeterian View on Behaviour, Interaction and Aggregate Outcomes
EditorsAndreas Pyka, Uwe Cantner
Number of pages33
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-62008-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-62009-1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesEconomic Complexity and Evolution


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