Working Paper BETA #2014-14

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Title : Patterns of innovation and organizational demography in emerging sustainable fields: an analysis of the chemical sector.

Author(s) : Marianna Epicoco

Abstract : This paper examines the eco-innovation dynamics in the chemical sector by analyzing Sustainable Chemistry (SC) technologies and the organizations that generated those technologies. First, we build an original dataset of patents and investigate trends emerging from patent statistics. Second, by using a clustering algorithm for the analysis of citation networks, we identify the main clusters of innovations that are driving the evolution of the field and analyze the demography of involved organizations. We found that SC is emerging slowly, and remains importantly concentrated in the US and in Europe. Public organizations, in particular US organizations, have played an important role in the development of the field. Relatively established and large chemical companies are the most active organizations and their continuity is more evident in the less recent clusters. However, there is some evidence, for the most recent years, of a greater importance of new and more specialized firms, often active in the clusters relating to biochemistry. Overall, our analysis suggests that the development of SC has stimulated the emergence of new organizations only in a partial way and in some specific sub?fields. This, as well as the relatively slow development of SC, may undermine the potential of SC to generate a radically new, and more sustainable, way of doing chemistry.

Key-words : Innovation dynamics; Industrial dynamics; Eco?innovation; Chemical sector; Sustainable Chemistry; Citation Network Analysis.

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