Capitalism, profits and innovation in the new techno-economic paradigm

John Cantwell, Grazia D. Santangelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Innovative profits (of the kind conceptualized by Schumpeter) are today being increasingly created through international corporate networks for technological development. Such profits through innovation are encouraged by newer more flexible organizational forms, and further encouraged (unlike in the conventional perspective on profits and on the incentive to innovate) by knowledge flows between firms. Our empirical evidence, based on US patent data, shows that multinational companies are currently more likely to develop abroad technologies which are less science-based, and less dependent upon tacit knowledge. However, within the science-based industries firms may generate abroad some technologies which are heavily dependent on tacit knowledge, but normally in fields that lie outside their own core technological competencies. We find some evidence of a convergence in corporate technological diversification across large firms, facilitated by the now common spread in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as an integrator of formerly separate technological systems. This has led smaller firms to diversify, but giant firms to consolidate activity around those technologies that have become most interrelated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-157
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Innovation
  • Internationalization
  • Profits
  • Technological diversification


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