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Big tech, knowledge predation and the implications for development

Rikap, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4153-4490 & Lundvall, B-Å. (2020). Big tech, knowledge predation and the implications for development. Innovation and Development, 12(3), pp. 389-416. doi: 10.1080/2157930x.2020.1855825


This paper focuses on tech giants as active drivers of a phase of globalisation characterized by growth in digital services trade combined with a general shift to intangible assets. By analysing how Google, Amazon and Microsoft organize their innovation activities, we show that they continuously monopolize knowledge while outsourcing innovation steps to other firms and research institutions. The paper compares science and technology collaborations with patent co-ownership suggesting knowledge predation from those other organizations. We also highlight that selected tech giants combine the collection of innovation rents with rents from exclusive access to data. We therefore refer to tech giants as data-driven intellectual monopolies, each organizing and controlling a global corporate innovation system (CIS). Intellectual monopolies predate knowledge (including data when they are data-driven) from their CIS that they turn into intangible assets. The paper ends with reflections on the implications for innovation and development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Innovation and Development on 7 December 2020, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Intellectual Monopolies; Corporate Innovation System; Data-driven rents; Rentier capitalism; Knowledge predation; Economic development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
T Technology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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