Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

October 6, 2014

# 14.19 The Technological Resilience of U.S. Cities

Pierre-Alexandre Balland, David Rigby & Ron Boschma

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We study the resilience of cities by analyzing their relative capacity to sustain the production of technological knowledge in the face of adverse events. Using patent applications in 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States from 1975 to 2002, we analyze the vulnerability and response of cities to technological crises. We define episodes of technological crisis as periods of sustained negative growth in patenting activity. We find that the frequency, intensity and duration of technological crises vary considerably across American cities. We test whether the technological knowledge bases of cities, their network openness and institutional environment condition their resilience to technological crises. Econometric analysis suggests that cities with knowledge bases that are diverse, flexible and that have a high degree of relatedness to technologies in which they do not currently possess comparative advantage tend to avoid technological crises, have limited downturns in patent production and faster recovery.

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