Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

October 13, 2009

#09.14 Proximity and the Evolution of Collaboration Networks: Evidence from R&D Projects within the GNSS Industry

Pierre-Alexandre Balland

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Increasing attention had been given recently to understand how networks affect organizational performance in innovation studies. Surprisingly, underlying mechanisms of their evolution have been more neglected, and still remain unclear. This lack of interest is denounced today by recent papers which claim that it is a crucial issue for economic geography. Especially the influence of different forms of proximity on the network’s changes needs to be clarified. This paper contributes to this ongoing debate by determining empirically how organizations choose their partners given to their geographical, organizational, institutional, cognitive and social proximity. The relational database is constructed from publicly available information on the R&D collaborative projects of the 6th European Union Framework Program within the navigation by satellite industry (GNSS). Patterns of evolution of the GNSS collaboration network are determined according to a longitudinal study of the relational changes occurred between four consecutive years, from 2004 to 2007. Empirical results show that geographical, organizational and institutional proximity favour collaboration. Inversely, organizations prefer to avoid partnerships when they share a cognitive proximity (same knowledge bases). The last result demonstrates that the kind of project studied does not create a sufficient level of social proximity to stimulate collaboration.

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