According to Schumpeter, the creative process of economic development can be divided into the stages of invention, innovation (commercialization) and imitation. Each stage is associated with speciﬁc skills. This paper examines whether Schumpeter’s assertion was correct, i.e. whether the invention and innovation stages should be undertaken by different agents. In addition, we examine whether there is a rationale for the Schumpeterian entrepreneur to include the inventor in the commercialization process. Combining the abilities of the entrepreneur and the inventor may serve to facilitate customer adaptation, strengthen knowledge transfers and reduce uncertainty, thereby expanding market opportunities. Based on a unique database covering Swedish patents granted to individuals and small ﬁrms, the empirical analysis shows that proﬁtability increases by 22 percentage points when inventions are commercialized by the entrepreneur instead of by inventors. However, active involvement of the inventor is shown to have a signiﬁcantly positive impact on proﬁtability, irrespective of commercialization mode.
Journal of Evolutionary Economics
The Inventor’s Role: Was Schumpeter Right?
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