RIKAP Cecilia

Économie - Post-doctorante - IFRIS

Axe de recherche : Axe 3 - Éducation et Savoirs au Sud

courriel : ceciliarikap chez gmail.com

Recherches en cours

Champs de recherche
Enseignement supérieur et recherche, capitalisme académique, insertion de l’université dans les chaines globales de valeur, relations de travail à l’université

Projet de recherche achevé
ACIDES-Sud (Approches Critiques et Interdisciplinaires des Dynamiques de l’Enseignement Supérieur – Sud) (2015-2018)

Zones géographiques étudiées
Argentine, Singapour

Publications récentes



  • Auvray Tristan, Durand Cédric, Rabinovich Joel et Rikap Cecilia (2021) « Corporate financialization’s conservation and transformation: from Mark I to Mark II », Review of Evoluationary Political Economy. DOI : 10/gk65jq. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:146423.


  • Rikap Cecilia (2020) « Amazon: A story of accumulation through intellectual rentiership and predation », Competition & Change (juin 17), p. 102452942093241. DOI : 10.1177/1024529420932418. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1024529420932418.
    Résumé : This article elaborates on intellectual monopoly theory as a form of predation and rentiership using Amazon as a case study. By analysing Amazon's financial statements, scientific publications and patents, we show that Amazon's economic power heavily relies on its systematic innovations and capacity to centralize and analyse customized data that orients its business and innovations. We demonstrate how Amazon's innovation activities have evolved over time with growing importance of technologies related to data and machine learning. We also map Amazon's innovation networks with academic institutions and companies. We show how Amazon appropriates intellectual rents from these networks and from technological cooperation with other intellectual monopolies. We argue that Amazon, as other data-driven monopolies, predates value from suppliers and third-party companies participating in its platform. One striking characteristic of Amazon is the low rate of reported profits. The centrality of innovations leads us to suggest an alternative calculation that shows that Amazon's profits are not as low as they appear in Annual Reports. We also argue that lower profits are coherent with Amazon's rentiership and predatory strategy since they contribute to the avoidance of accusations of excessive market power. Finally, the paper offers preliminary observations on: (i) the complementarities between financial and intellectual rentierism and (ii) how data-driven intellectual monopoly expands big corporations' political power. Going beyond the specific case of Amazon, we thus contribute to a better understanding of the role of lead firms and power dynamics within innovation networks.


  • Rikap Cecilia (2022) « Becoming an intellectual monopoly by relying on the national innovation system: the State Grid Corporation of China's experience », Research Policy, 51 (4) (mai), p. 104472. DOI : 10.1016/j.respol.2021.104472. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S004873332100264X.
    Résumé : This paper examines the origins of global leaders under intellectual monopoly capitalism. State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the leading firm in artificial intelligence applications for the energy sector, became an intellectual monopoly relying heavily on China's national innovation system –particularly public research organizations and public funding, and innovation and energy policies. SGCC is unique because it did not rely on technology transfer from global leaders, unlike other national champions from developing or emerging countries. We provide evidence that contributes to thinking that SGCC first became a national intellectual monopoly and only afterwards expanded that monopoly globally. We empirically study SGCC's innovation networks. We proxy them using big data techniques to analyze the content, co-authors and co-owners of its publications and patents. Results also suggest that SGCC is capturing intellectual rents from its increasingly transnational and technologically diverse innovation networks by leveraging its national innovation system.

  • Rikap Cecilia (2019) « El capitalismo como sistema de poder: del dinero a la diferenciación del capital. », Filosofía de la Economía, 7 (2), p. 97–111. http://ppct.caicyt.gov.ar/index.php/filoecon/article/view/14174.
    Résumé : Partimos de la premisa de que la vigencia de una obra es función de los problemas contemporáneos que contribuye a plantear y repensar. En esa clave, indagamos sobre la diferenciación de la mercancía en común y dineraria como génesis del poder propuesta por Marx (1867, cap. 1), reconcibiendo al intercambio mercantil como una relación social asimétrica. Identificamos que este aporte ha sido ignorado por dos corrientes influyentes dentro del marxismo: quienes sostienen la tesis del capital monopolista y quienes defienden la vigencia de la ley del valor a partir de la pervivencia de la competencia real. En este contexto, retomamos dicho aporte ignorado en tanto relación de poder genérica pero circunstancial para integrarlo con la diferenciación del capital propuesta por Levín (1997), una relación de poder específica y perdurable entre capitales individuales. Mostramos cómo esta última retoma pero al mismo tiempo supera el planteo de Marx en El Capital.
    Mots-clés : ⛔ No DOI found.


  • Rikap Cecilia (2018) « Innovation as Economic Power in Global Value Chains », Revue d'Économie Industrielle, 3 (163), p. 35-75. DOI : 10.4000/rei.7226. https://www.cairn.info/revue-d-economie-industrielle-2018-3-page-35.htm?contenu=resume.
    Résumé : ‪Global Value Chains (GVC) have been criticized for assuming power relations mainly based on empirical analyses. Although some authors focus on entry barriers to explain the emergence of market-power, those barriers’ porosity contradicts the sole entry barriers argument. We explore this genesis of power between enterprises and their effects to better understand GVC dynamics in general, and Apple Inc.’s chain in particular. We suggest that monopolizing innovations can be conceived as a self-reinforcing source of power capable of overcoming entry barriers’ porosity. In this context, we state that the long term dynamic of GVC centrally depends on the capacity of the leader to keep its innovation’s monopoly. We also suggest a typology of subordinated firms useful for understanding the different participants of Apple Inc.’s GVC. ‪JEL classification : F23, F50, O34. Les Chaines Globales de Valeur (CGV) sont critiquées pour n’aborder les rapports de pouvoir qu’à partir d’études empiriques. La piste principalement envisagée, qui voit dans les barrières à l’entrée l’origine des rapports de pouvoir, ne suffit pas à rendre compte de la robustesse des positions dominantes lorsque ces barrières s’avèrent poreuses. Nous analysons la genèse des rapports de pouvoir entre entreprises et ses effets pour mieux comprendre les dynamiques des CGV, en général, et d’Apple Inc., en particulier. Le développement d’un monopole sur l’innovation donne une position de pouvoir qui se renforce progressivement, qui dépasse la porosité des barrières à l’entrée. On formule ensuite l’hypothèse que les dynamiques de long terme dépendent centralement de la capacité du leader de garder son monopole sur l’innovation. Enfin, nous proposons une typologie des entreprises subordonnées opérante pour décrire les différents participants de la CGV d’Apple Inc. Classification JEL : F23, F50, O34.


  • Rikap Cecilia (2019) « Asymmetric Power of the Core: Technological Cooperation and Technological Competition in the Transnational Innovation Networks of Big Pharma », Review of International Political Economy, p. 1-35. DOI : 10.1080/09692290.2019.1620309. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09692290.2019.1620309.
    Résumé : This article theoretically and empirically analyzes leader corporations’ innovation processes in contemporary capitalism. We highlight three characteristics: their transnational scope, the primacy of power or asymmetric relations exercised by leaders over the participants of their innovation circuits or networks, and the relevance of what we called technological competition and technological cooperation between leaders. Focusing on the latter, our theoretical contribution integrates the concepts of innovation circuit, global innovation network and modularity of knowledge production in order to elaborate a preliminary model for synthesizing leader’s technological competition and collaboration behaviors. This model is the general framework used for studying three big pharma’s innovation networks (Roche, Novartis and Pfizer). In particular, we study those networks by considering two outputs: scientific publications and patents. Network maps are constructed based on institutions’ co-occurrences, thus looking at who is co-authoring their publications and co-owning these corporations’ patents. We find that big pharmaceuticals co-produce together mainly generic knowledge modules, thus develop a strong technological cooperation. Simultaneously, to succeed in their technological competition they outsource stages of their innovation networks to subordinate institutions that, even if they contribute to achieve the innovation, will not be co-owners of the resulting patents, while big pharmaceuticals enjoy associated innovation rents.


  • Rikap Cecilia et Flacher David (2020) « Who collects intellectual rents from knowledge and innovation hubs? questioning the sustainability of the singapore model », Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 55 (décembre), p. 59-73. DOI : 10.1016/j.strueco.2020.06.004. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0954349X20303763.
    Résumé : While knowledge and innovation are produced in networks involving diverse actors, associated rents are greatly appropriated by global leaders, mostly coming from core countries, that become intellectual monopolies. This raises the question on emerging or peripheral countries companies' capacity to catch-up, innovate and compete for intellectual rents. The article considers the case of Singapore who has pursued a knowledge hub strategy aimed at: 1) creating world class universities inserted in global knowledge networks of defined fields; and 2) capturing intellectual rents through those institutions' research and contributing to local firms' catching up. We show that research universities caught-up. However, we find that foreign companies, particularly multinationals, capture most of Singapore's intellectual rents at the expense of local companies and research institutions. Overall, our findings point to the limitations of Singapore's knowledge hub as a catching-up strategy. The article ends discussing the relevancy of these findings for emerging countries in general.


  • Rikap Cecilia et Harari-Kermadec Hugo (2019) « The direct subordination of universities to the accumulation of capital », Capital & Class (juin 25), p. 0309816819852761. DOI : 10.1177/0309816819852761. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0309816819852761.
    Résumé : Universities have historically contributed to the reproduction of capitalism. However, they have been historically conceived as a separate sphere or institution detached from the Market, thus only indirect participants of capital’s accumulation processes. Our aim in this article is precisely to contribute to acknowledge this transformation by further developing a theoretical explanation integrated to a Marxist analysis of contemporary capitalism. In particular, following Levín, we distinguish that a portion of world’s social capital has monopolized the capacity to plan and profit from innovation. The wide gap in terms of innovation capacities between individual capitals leaves those non-innovative with no better option but to subordinate and let go part of their surplus. It is in this context that we will suggest that universities integrate direct capital’s accumulation structures. To do so, we will conceptually distinguish between two sides of universities’ transformation: (1) the adoption of capital enterprises’ characteristics resulting in exchanges of their products (teaching and research results), where we will identify different degrees of bargaining power to decide the conditions of those exchanges, and (2) the transformation of academic labor, adapting itself to capitalist production processes. Considering the former, we argue that universities’ adoption of individual capitals’ features can be better understood as a differentiated process. We suggest three types of differentiated market-university, according to the different enterprises in Levín’s typology. Our concluding remarks include further research questions and nuance the general transformation of the University as an economic actor offering some clues for developing countertendencies.


  • Rikap Cecilia et Harari-Kermadec Hugo (2019) « Motivations for collaborating with industry: has public policy influenced new academics in Argentina? », Studies in Higher Education (août 28), p. 1-12. DOI : 10.1080/03075079.2019.1659764. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03075079.2019.1659764.
    Résumé : Between 2005 and 2015 a series of science, technology and innovation policies were deployed in Argentina among which academic research collaborations with industry was particularly fostered. This paper studies the effect of those policies on newer researchers, defined as those with PhD or postdoctoral scholarships, looking at their motivations to collaborate and, to some extent, at their actual collaborations with Industry. Our hypothesis is that those policies had a positive effect on young academics’ perception of collaborations with industry, now conceived as a dimension of their job, and also on actual collaborations. To conduct our study, we used an original database constructed from an online survey answered by more than 600 newer researchers. Empirical results partly confirm our hypothesis: a direct policy encouraging collaborations by providing collaborative grants was not associated with actual collaborations, while orienting research towards strategic areas – defined by the Science and Technology Ministry- is.


  • Rikap Cecilia et Lundvall Bengt-Åke (2020) « Big tech, knowledge predation and the implications for development », Innovation and Development (décembre 7), p. 1-28. DOI : 10.1080/2157930X.2020.1855825. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2157930X.2020.1855825.
    Résumé : This paper focuses on tech giants as active drivers of a phase of globalization 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.


  • Rikap Cecilia et Lundvall Bengt-Åke (2021) The Digital Innovation Race: Conceptualizing the Emerging New World Order, Cham : Springer International Publishing. ISBN : 978-3-030-89442-9 978-3-030-89443-6. https://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-89443-6.
    Résumé : This book develops new theoretical perspectives on the economics and politics of innovation and knowledge in order to capture new trends in modern capitalism. It shows how giant corporations establish themselves as intellectual monopolies and how each of them builds and controls its own corporate innovation system. It presents an analysis of a new form of production where Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, and their counterparts in China, extract value and appropriate intellectual rents through privileged access to AI algorithms trained by data from organizations and individuals all around the world. These companies’ specific form of production and rent-seeking takes place at the global level and challenges national governments trying to regulate intellectual monopolies and attempting to build stronger national innovation systems. It is within this context that the authors provide new insights on the complex interplay between corporate and national innovation systems by looking at the US-China conflict, understood as a struggle for global technological supremacy. The book ends with alternative scenarios of global governance and advances policy recommendations as well as calls for social activism. This book will be of interest to students, academics and practitioners (both from national states and international organizations) and professionals working on innovation, digital capitalism and related topics. Bengt-Åke Lundvall is Professor emeritus in economics at Department of Business Studies at Aalborg University and Professor emeritus at Department of Economic History at Lund University. His research is organized around a broad set of issues related to innovation systems and learning economies. Cecilia Rikap is Lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London, CONICET researcher and associate researcher at COSTECH, Université de Technologie de Compiègne. She has a PhD in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research deals with the global political economy of science, technology and innovation.


  • Testoni Federico E., García Carrillo Mercedes, Gagnon Marc-André, Rikap Cecilia et Blaustein Matías (2021) « Whose shoulders is health research standing on? Determining the key actors and contents of the prevailing biomedical research agenda », éd. par Quinn Grundy, PLOS ONE, 16 (4) (avril 7), p. e0249661. DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0249661. https://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249661.
    Résumé : Background Conflicts of interest in biomedical research can influence research results and drive research agendas away from public health priorities. Previous agenda-setting studies share two shortfalls: they only account for direct connections between academic institutions and firms, as well as potential bias based on researchers’ personal beliefs. This paper’s goal is to determine the key actors and contents of the prevailing health and biomedical sciences (HBMS) research agenda, overcoming these shortfalls. Methods We performed a bibliometric and lexical analysis of 95,415 scientific articles published between 1999 and 2018 in the highest impact factor journals within HBMS, using the Web of Science database and the CorText platform. HBMS’s prevailing knowledge network of institutions was proxied with network maps where nodes represent affiliations and edges the most frequent co-authorships. The content of the prevailing HBMS research agenda was depicted through network maps of prevalent multi-terms found in titles, keywords, and abstracts. Results The HBMS research agendas of large private firms and leading academic institutions are intertwined. The prevailing HBMS agenda is mostly based on molecular biology (40% of the most frequent multi-terms), with an inclination towards cancer and cardiovascular research (15 and 8% of the most frequent multi-terms, respectively). Studies on pathogens and biological vectors related to recent epidemics are marginal (1% of the most frequent multi-terms). Content of the prevailing HBMS research agenda prioritizes research on pharmacological intervention over research on socio-environmental factors influencing disease onset or progression and overlooks, among others, the study of infectious diseases. Conclusions Pharmaceutical corporations contribute to set HBMS’s prevailing research agenda, which is mainly focused on a few diseases and research topics. A more balanced research agenda, together with epistemological approaches that consider socio-environmental factors associated with disease spreading, could contribute to being better prepared to prevent and treat more diverse pathologies and to improve overall health outcomes.
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