Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Diffusion and Network Structure

R. Cowan, N. Jonard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This paper models knowledge creation and diffusion as processes involving many agents located on a network. Knowledge diffusion takes place when an agent broadcasts his knowledge to the agents to whom he is directly connected. Knowledge creation arises when agents receive new knowledge which is combined with their existing knowledge stocks. Thus both creation and diffusion are network-dependent activities. This paper examines the relationship between network architecture and aggregate knowledge levels. We find that knowledge growth is fastest in a “small world”, that is, when the underlying network structure is relatively cliquish (dense at a local level) yet has short paths. This corresponds to a locally-connected graph which includes a few long-distance connections or shortcuts.keywordstacit knowledgeabsorptive capacityknowledge creationknowledge levelsmall worldthese keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEconomies with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents
EditorsA Kirman, J-B Zimmermann
Place of PublicationDordrecht/Boston/London
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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