Science Direct, April 2017
Abstract: This study investigates a recent phenomenon in the market for technology: online marketplaces for technological inventions, which support the listing, search, and exchange of technological inventions by sellers and buyers. Focusing on three salient theoretical factors that affect markets for technology — search costs, ambiguity about the underlying knowledge and its applications, and expropriation concerns — our research systematically explores which industries are served by online marketplaces. We exploit the fact that the magnitude of these factors varies across industries and identify key features of online marketplaces that may address these factors. Our proprietary dataset covers 12 online marketplaces for technology and spans over 140 industries. The results indicate that online marketplaces are more likely to serve an industry with (a) a higher cost of searching for technologies in that industry, (b) greater ambiguity about the underlying technology’s potential applications across industries, and (c) greater ability to protect inventions from expropriation.