We propose a simple model where the innovation rate of a technological domain depends on the innovation rate of the technological domains it relies on. Using data on US patents from 1836 to 2017, we make out-of-sample predictions and fond that the predictability of innovation rates can be boosted substantially when network effects are taken into account. In the case where a technology's neighbourhood further innovation rates are known, the average predictability gain is 28% compared to simpler time series model with do not incorporate network effects. Even when nothing is known about the future, we find positive average predictability gains of 20%. The results have important policy implications, suggesting that the effective support of a given technology must take into account the technological ecosystem surrounding the targeted technology.
Pichler, A., Lafond, F. & Farmer, D.F. (2020). 'Technological interdependencies predict innovation dynamics'. INET Oxford Working Paper, No.2020-04.