Economics of Innovation at TUM

Our research in the area of applied microeconomics focuses on the economics of innovation and the economics of science.

Research News

New Study on Technology Mapping Using WebAI: The Case of 3D Printing

Research News |

We investigate the diffusion of 3D printing using web mining and deep learning methods. This novel approach extends traditional innovation measures such as patent data and company surveys. It provides new insights for technology diffusion. Joint project with the University of Mannheim, Universität Salzburg, Justus Liebig University Giessen, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research and @ISTARI.AI.

Full report:


The diffusion of new technologies is crucial for the realization of social and economic returns to innovation. Tracking and mapping technology diffusion is, however, typically limited by the extent to which we can observe technology adoption. This study uses website texts to train a multilingual language model ensemble to map technology diffusion for the case of 3D printing. The study identifies relevant actors and their roles in the diffusion process. The results show that besides manufacturers, service provider, retailers, and information providers play an important role. The geographic distribution of adoption intensity suggests that regional 3D-printing intensity is driven by experienced lead users and the presence of technical universities. The overall adoption intensity varies by sector and firm size. These patterns indicate that the approach of using webAI provides a useful and novel tool for technology mapping which adds to existing measures based on patents or survey data.

Recent Publications (click to see all publications)

New knowledge-intensive firms contribute to innovation, competition, and employment growth, but externalities like knowledge spillovers can prevent entrepreneurs from appropriating the full returns from their investments. In addition, uncertainty and information asymmetry pose challenges for financing. Public policy programs therefore aim to support start-ups. This study evaluates the effects of participation in such programs on the performance of start-ups in high-tech and knowledge-intensive sectors that were founded in Germany between 2005…

The question whether alcohol consumption affects violent crime is a crucial one, and may lead to a demand for alcohol availability regulation. In this study, we explore the effects of a state-level ban on late-night off-premise alcohol sales on recorded violent crime incidents. We study the ban that was in effect from 2010-2017 in the German state Baden-Württemberg. The results show that that the policy reduced both late-night simple assault and aggravated assault, but had no significant effect on late-night rape or robbery.

The participation of women in top-level corporate boards or rather the lack of it is subject to intense public debate. Countries are considering legally binding quotas to increase the share of women on boards or have already implemented such rules. While research on board diversity suggests positive effects on corporate governance and even firm performance, the mechanisms through which these benefits materialize remain mostly speculative. This study focuses on boards of directors in a large sample of listed companies in 15 European countries…

Assessing the impact of publicly funded scientific research in entrepreneurial ecosystems is of great interest for science and entrepreneurship policy. Knowledge from academic research flows into the private sector through publications, patents, and researcher mobility as well as through direct interactions between founders and researchers at public research institutions (PRIs). New technology-based firms (NTBFs) are generally praised for high innovativeness despite their resource constraints and liability of newness. This study therefore…

Academic consulting is an important and effective means of knowledge transfer between the public and private sectors. It offers opportunities for research application but also raises concerns over potentially negative consequences for academic research and its dissemination. For a sample of social, natural, and engineering science academics in Germany, and controlling for the selection into consulting, we investigate the effect of consulting with public and private sector organizations on research performance. While previous research suggested…

Access to financial resources is crucial for young firms to strive. To foster innovation and growth in these firms, governments address financing constraints by initiating public support programs. For such financial support to be effective, it is, however, important that firms be able to augment publicly provided resources with additional means. This study examines the relation between new ventures’ subsidy receipt and long-term bank loans. Studying new ventures founded between 2005 and 2009 in Germany, we test whether the subsidy itself…

R&D collaborations that combine resources and exploit complementary expertise contribute to the successful creation and implementation of new knowledge. Collaborative R&D may further be a way in which firms cope with financing constraints. Based on panel data for a large sample of R&D-active firms, findings provide empirical support for this hypothesis. Results show that collaborating firms rely less on internal funding for research than others even when accounting for firms’ selection into collaborations.