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This paper analyzes the relationships between firms' external search of knowledge and its role in cooperation strategies for innovation. In particular, this study accounts for differences between public and private external sources of knowledge and between private&-private and public&-private cooperation arrangements. The empirical model is based on the Fourth Community Innovation Survey statistics for 15 countries and 40 economic branches. Although firms' internal R&D effort and size are important factors explaining engagement in cooperation for innovation, firms' external search of knowledge also plays a role. Among other insights, the results suggest the relevance of firms' absorption of science-based knowledge from public external sources in favoring firms' engagement in cooperation arrangements.