Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Innovation, Knowledge Spillovers and Digitalization

This dissertation studies firms in the knowledge economy, their innovation behavior, and how digitalization shapes the business activities of smaller ventures in particular. The first essay of the dis­ sertation looks at new forms of innovation finance and business models as facilitated through digitalization and online marketplaces. In a joint project with Fabian Gaessler, we study how crowd-funding platforms facilitate the interaction between fund-seeking new ventures and potential funders – expanding the market for entrepreneurial finance from specialized, offline markets (venture capital, business angels) to digital markets for the crowd. For more details, see the project description “Openness as Plat-form Strategy – Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Crowdfunding” in section C II 1.10, p. 266 of this report. In a second essay – based on a project with a team of economists and computer scientists from the LMU Munich and the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) – we analyze the diffusion of internet-based technologies and the prevalence of digital business models of German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We use novel web-scraping techniques to automatically analyze companies’ websites and to gather data on a large scale, instead of conventional statistics or surveys that are costly and limited in scope. The third essay analyzes knowledge spillovers across firms as well as between industry and science. In particular, it studies the innovation behavior of larger, multinational firms. In a joint research project with Christian Fons-Rosen (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Affiliated Research Fellow at the Institute), we seek to understand how trade liberalizations affect firms’ innovation behavior and sources of knowledge. After a trade shock, some sectors in the economy become more important, others shrink. We study if and how such sectorial changes affect learning and innovation across industries. Another project will study international knowledge spillovers and technology sourcing. Using data on foreign direct investments by German firms abroad and patent data will make it possible to assess if multinational firms can tap into scientific knowledge abroad.


Doctoral Student

Zhaoxin Pu

Doctoral Supervisor

Prof. Dietmar Harhoff, Ph.D.

Fields of Research