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)

Research and product or process development are two distinct, yet complementary innovation activities. Making use of a specific grant-based policy design that explicitly distinguishes between research projects, development projects, and mixed R&D projects, this study estimates the direct and cross scheme effects on both research and development investments of recipient firms. Positive cross scheme effects can be expected when research and development activities are complementary and financing constraints are more binding for research than for…

This study sheds light on the unexplored phenomenon of multiple institutional affiliations using scientific publications. Institutional affiliations are important in the organisation and governance of science. Multiple affiliations may alter the traditional framework of academic employment and careers and may require a reappraisal of institutional assessment based on research outcomes of affiliated staff. Results for authors in three major science and technology nations (Germany, Japan and the UK) and in three fields (biology, chemistry, and…

Academics are increasingly encouraged to acquire external grants to finance their research, and often hold grants from multiple funders concurrently to ensure the continuity of their work. However, there are concerns that inefficiencies occur when funding is received from multiple sponsors, especially when this originates from different sectors. This study investigates complementarities between public/non-profit and private sector sources of research funding with regard to academic output in terms of publications, research impact and research…

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This study investigates induced productivity effects of firms introducing new environmental technologies. The literature on within-firm organisational change and productivity suggests that firms can achieve higher productivity gains from adopting new technologies if they adapt their organisational structures. Such complementarity effects may be of particular importance for the adoption of greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement technologies. The adoption of these technologies is often induced by public authorities to limit the social costs of climate…

R&D collaboration facilitates the pooling of complementary skills, learning from the partner as well as the sharing of risks and costs. Research therefore stresses the positive relationship between collaborative R&D and innovation performance. Fewer studies address the potential drawbacks of collaborative R&D. Collaborative R&D comes at the cost of coordination and monitoring, requires knowledge disclosure, and involves the risk of opportunistic behavior by the partners. Thus, while for lower collaboration intensities the net gains can be high,…