The private returns to knowledge: A comparison of ICT, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and green technologies

Stucki, Tobias; Woerter, Martin (2019). The private returns to knowledge: A comparison of ICT, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and green technologies Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, pp. 62-81. 10.1016/j.techfore.2019.05.011

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ICT, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and green technologies are among the most important emerging technological activities and may substantially increase economic returns. However, empirical evidence is rather scarce, as most existing literature focuses on the economic returns to knowledge in general and does not compare the effects of knowledge in different types of technologies. Based on a well-founded productivity model, we find (a) that knowledge in these “new growth” technologies shows larger economic returns than knowledge in traditional technologies; (b) a solid knowledge stock in traditional technologies is required to achieve positive economic returns from “new growth” technologies; (c) there are significant differences in the economic returns; the largest effects are achieved through knowledge in ICT, followed by biotechnology. Only moderate economic returns are detected for knowledge in nanotechnologies, and green technologies; (d) we also identify some evidence that technology convergence, i.e. technologies that are based on inter-disciplinary research activities, show larger economic returns than technologies generated based on a single discipline.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School > Institute for Sustainable Business > Sustainable Consumption
Business School


Stucki, Tobias0000-0002-2400-0107 and
Woerter, Martin






Tobias Stucki

Date Deposited:

13 Aug 2019 15:23

Last Modified:

01 Sep 2021 02:30

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Technology comparisons Productivity Innovation Patents Biotechnology Nanotechnology Green technology Information- and communication technology




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