Artikel in referierten Fachzeitschriften
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Like Stars: How Firms Learn at Scientific Conferences

Baruffaldi, Stefano Horst; Poege, Felix (2024). Like Stars: How Firms Learn at Scientific Conferences Management Science 2024.

Scientific conferences are an underexplored channel by which firms can learn from science. We provide empirical evidence that firms learn from scientific conferences in which they participate but also that this is conditional on intense participation. Using data from conference papers in computer science since the 1990s, we show that corporate investments in participation are both frequent and highly skewed, with some firms contributing to a given conference scientifically, some as sponsors, and some doing both. We use direct flights as an instrumental variable for the probability that other scientists participate in the same conference as a firm, altering the knowledge set to which the firm is exposed. We find that a firm’s use of scientists’ knowledge increases when they participate in the same conferences. Greater participation efforts, where the firm seeks the spotlight by both sponsoring the conference and contributing to its scientific discourse, foretell research collaborations and a stronger learning effect. Such learning is disproportionately concentrated among the most prominent firms and scientists rather than benefitting those without alternative interaction channels. Therefore, on average, firms learn from scientists that they encounter at conferences, but the substantial heterogeneity of the effect reflects the influence of reputation mechanisms in social interactions.

External Link (DOI)

Also published as: Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 20-10