Economics of innovation
Investigating how businesses behave and the effects of innovation, R&D and government programs on their performance.
We investigate how businesses behave and why they do or don’t choose to innovate. It’s not often clear why some firms choose not to innovate and what are their main obstacles. There are many plausible, half-tested hypotheses about what makes innovation successful, but in many cases, there is insufficient sound evidence to refute or substantiate them.
Orthodox economic theory often treats innovation or technical progress as an unexpected advantage. It predominantly focuses on pricing behaviour and does not seek to explain the behaviour of companies and the process they take to create new technology, processes or products. Conventional theories assume that companies are always on, or close to, the technological frontier and assume that knowledge, once created, quickly disperses throughout the economy. Although this abstraction of how innovation occurs may be reasonable in some branches of economics, it is unhelpful for studies of productivity growth.
In our research, we avoid notions of instant competitive equilibrium and hyper-rationality and instead investigate how firms actually behave using a variety of economic modelling methods, data science, natural language processing and machine learning to provide unparalleled insights and in doing so ask questions such as:
- How risky is innovation and what role do environmental factors play?
- Why are some firms consistently below the technological frontier?
- Should governments intervene in the innovation system?
Intellectual property rights
We undertake applied economic and legal analysis of the patent, trademark, designs and plant variety rights systems around the world.
Productivity and firm performance
We analyse the relationship between innovation and firm performance using large panel business databases.
Public innovation policy
We undertake economic analyses of optimal policy settings in the area of government support for business, the research sector and collaboration between sectors.
Translation of science
We analyse the factors driving or inhibiting the use and dissemination of science into industry and the community.
We analyse Australia–Asia engagement and the development of Asian economies.
Our current projects within this theme include:
- the impact of design rights on Australian firms with IP Australia
- the effects of innovation, R&D and government programs on firm performance
- the size of knowledge spillovers in the Australian economy
- the link between innovation and trade
- the efficacy of the international patent system
- building an internationally linked trademark database.
In collaboration with our partners, we aim to improve the performance and productivity of business and industry. We have partnered with several companies and government departments with diverse interests in technology and innovation for policy and management.
|Beth Webster||Director, Centre for Transformative Innovation||Intellectual property; productivity and firm performance; public innovation policy; translation of science|
|Mitchell Adams||Research Associate||Intellectual property|
|Christine Greenhalgh||Professor of Applied Economics, University of Oxford||Intellectual property; Asian engagement|
|Terry Healy||Adjunct Professor||Intellectual property|
|Sarah Hegarty||Data Scientist||Productivity and firm performance|
|Paul Jensen||Professorial Fellow, Swinburne Adjunct, University of Melbourne||Intellectual property; public innovation policy; translation of science|
|Trevor Kollmann||Research Fellow||Urban economics; applied econometrics; innovation economics; economic history|
|Amir Moradi Motlagh||Research Fellow||Energy economics|
|Elisabeth Mueller||Adjunct Professor||Intellectual property; productivity and firm performance; public innovation policy; translation of science|
|Alfons Palangkaraya||Associate Professor, Economics||Intellectual property; productivity and firm performance; public innovation policy; translation of science; Asian engagement|
|Stephen Petrie||Data Scientist||Intellectual property; productivity and firm performance|
|Amanda Scardamaglia||Department Chair, Swinburne School of Law||Intellectual property; public innovation policy|
|Tom Spurling||Professor, Innovation Studies||Productivity and firm performance; public innovation policy; translation of science|
|Russell Thomson||Associate Professor, Economics||Intellectual property; productivity and firm performance; public innovation policy; translation of science; Asian engagement|
|Abbas Valadkhani||Research Fellow||Energy economics|
|John Webb||Professorial Fellow||Asian engagement|
|Nobu Yamashita||Research Fellow||Global value chains|
|Mark Bazzacco||PhD candidate|
|Federico Bignone||PhD candidate|
|Mohammad Danish||PhD candidate|
|Jean-Francois Desvignes||PhD candidate|
|Adam Finch||PhD candidate|
|Achinthya Koswatta||PhD candidate|
|Fatima Lecke||PhD candidate|
|Ngoc Dieu Le Nguyen||PhD candidate|
|Babu Raman Pantha||PhD candidate|
|David Paynter||PhD candidate|
|Bill Scales||PhD candidate|
|Shahana Sultana||PhD candidate|
Explore our other research programs
Contact the Centre for Transformative Innovation
There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions. Call us on +61 3 9214 4861 or email email@example.com.