Small World and Collaboration Networks: Evidence from China’s Nanotech Patenting

J. Guan
Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, CN

Keywords: patent, nanotechnology, small world networks, innovation


This work investigates the effects of small world phenomena on innovation collaboration at both structural and positional levels based on nanotechnology patent data for China during 1991-2009. The development of collaboration networks in this period is analyzed in an evolution of time. Statistical analysis then demonstrates that the small world structure benefits innovation performance at the national level, while its characteristic of low path length and high clustering benefits innovation performance at the individual level. It is found that the accumulative optimal individual positions do not necessarily lead to optimal network structure. The paper finally discusses the implications of the findings for future researchers, policy makers and individual patent inventors.