Analyzing policy-driven innovation network development - Resource dependencies and expectations in Dutch electric vehicle subsidies -
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The amount of innovation subsidies for technological development increased vastly over the past decade. However, it still remains unclear for organizations how to increase their chances to access these subsidies. In the current research, the resource dependence view and the sociology of expectations are combined to examine the influence of expectations on the likelihood of receiving innovation subsidies. Three types of expectations are distinguished: scientific expectations, societal expectations, and valorization expectations. Scientific expectations are measured by the amount of scientific publications devoted to a specific technology. Societal expectations measure the amount of newspaper articles in which organizations articulate their expectations towards the specific technology. Valorization expectations measure the amount of patents organizations hold for a specific technology. These expectations indicate the historical achievement of organizations towards a specific technology and will therefore be able to predict their future performances, increasing their likelihood of receiving innovation subsidies. This research examines the Dutch electric vehicle case, which is exemplary for this research since the government supports this technology with the use of innovation subsidy. The data used for the analysis, collected from NL Agency, consists of 23 project groups and a total of 79 unique actors. After a governmental decision committee assessed the projects, 16 of the initial 23 projects were elected to receive subsidy. Since innovation subsidy is allocated to project groups, expectations are aggregated to an actor and a project level to separate organizational effects from project group effects. The results of the logit regression revealed a significant negative influence of expectations on the likelihood of receiving innovation subsidies. This effect is remarkably stronger on the project level compared to the actor level. The results also revealed that organizations with electric vehicle technology as their core business significantly increase their likelihood of receiving innovation subsidies. Recently, the Dutch court of audit criticized Dutch innovation policy for their inconsistencies and difficulties in evaluating their effectiveness and efficiency. In line with their report, this research argues for a more transparent decision process and consistency in policy regulations between different governmental departments. Further research should be performed to analyze what characteristics increase the likelihood of receiving innovation subsidies and to confirm the plausibility of a combined theoretical framework of the resource dependence view and the sociology of expectations.