Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

June 16, 2017

# 17.13 Technological Coherence and the Adaptive Resilience of Regional Economies

Filed under: 2017 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 6:42 pm

Silvia Rocchetta, Andrea Mina


This paper explores the effect of different regional technological profiles on the resilience of regional economies to exogenous shocks. We conduct an empirical examination of the determinants of resilience through panel analyses of UK NUTS III level data for the 2004-2012 period. The results indicate that regions endowed with technologically coherent – and not simply diversified – knowledge bases are better prepared to face an unforeseen downturn and display resilience. Moreover, local economies tend to be more adaptable if they innovate in sectors with the strongest growth opportunities, even though firms’ net entry does not appear to contribute significantly towards resilience.

May 2, 2016

# 16.09 Not too close, not too far: testing the Goldilocks principle of ‘optimal’ distance in innovation networks

Filed under: 2016 — Tags: , , , , , — mattehartog @ 3:27 pm

Rune Dahl Fitjar, Franz Huber and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


This paper analyses how the formation of collaboration networks affects firm-level innovation by applying the ‘Goldilocks principle’. The ‘Goldilocks principle’ of optimal distance in innovation networks postulates that the best firm-level innovation results are achieved when the partners involved in the network are located at the ‘right’ distance, i.e. ‘not too close and not too far’ from one another, across non-geographical proximity dimensions. This principle is tested on a survey of 542 Norwegian firms conducted in 2013, containing information about firm-level innovation activities and key innovation partners. The results of the ordinal logit regression analysis substantiate the Goldilocks principle, as the most innovative firms are found amongst those that collaborate with partners at medium levels of proximity for all non-geographical dimensions. The analysis also underscores the importance of the presence of a substitution-innovation mechanism, with geographical distance problems being compensated by proximity in other dimensions as a driver of innovation, whilst there is no support for a potential overlap-innovation mechanism.

February 3, 2016

# 16.02 Nothing is in the air

Filed under: 2016 — Tags: , , , , , , — mattehartog @ 6:37 pm

Rune Dahl Fitjar and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


It has often been argued that ‘there is something in the air’ which makes firms in high-density environments – such as cities or clusters – more innovative. The co-location of firms facilitates the emergence of serendipity and casual encounters which promote innovation in firms. We assess this hypothesis using data from a survey of Norwegian firms engaged in innovation partnerships. The results indicate that there may be ‘much less in the air’ than is generally assumed in the literature. The relationships conducive to innovation by Norwegian firms emerged as a consequence of purpose-built searches and had little to do with chance, serendipity, or ‘being there’.

July 15, 2015

# 15.23 Institutions and the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for Smart Specialization

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Callum Wilkie


Smart specialization approaches to regional innovation policies have attracted, and in all likelihood will continue to attract, considerable attention. With this attention has come significant interest in one of the approach’s defining features: the ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ (EDP). While this interest has yielded substantial progress in the development of a comprehensive collective understanding of the EDP, several important, even vital, aspects of the EDP remain ‘under-‘ or even ‘unaddressed’. This essay aims to fill what we consider to be two prominent gaps in the aforementioned collective understanding by, first, identifying the actors who are responsible for the EDP, investigating their respective roles, and exploring how they should be engaged, and, second, by dissecting the relationship between the EDP and the institutional context within which it occurs recognizing that institutions can exercise tremendous influence on the effectiveness and outcomes of the EDP. Four prominent conclusions emerge from this exercise – each of which is made explicit in the final section of the paper – that will hopefully contribute to the more effective implementation and execution of the EDP across diverse socioeconomic and institutional contexts.

June 9, 2015

# 15.19 Cross-specialization: A New Perspective on Industry Policy

Filed under: 2015 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 9:56 am

Matthijs J. Janssen


In this paper we discuss how an economies’ established stronghold industries can form a basis for sustaining competiveness. As changing market circumstances demand strongholds to stay adaptive, their knowledge bases need to be enriched with knowledge that is uncommon to the industry itself. Inspired by insights from evolutionary economic geography, we argue why rather than (only) supporting related variety, policy makers should ‘cross-specialize’ by creating linkages between strong but unrelated industries. Experimentation based on bridging rich knowledge bases provides important opportunities for breakthrough innovation and, ultimately, economic diversification. Policy makers can facilitate uncommon interactions by creating various kinds of platform-like interfaces. One way to determine what technologies and themes are suitable in this regard is by taking a close look at cross-over industries. As these cross-over industries consist of parties able to communicate with both of the unrelated strongholds, they are highly relevant for policy interventions aimed at closing structural holes in the industry space. Looking at the case of the Dutch Topsectors, we describe how cross-over industries can be identified. We use skill-relatedness and employment data to construct the Dutch industry space, and apply network analytics for calculating cross-over centrality measures. We conclude by discussing research and policy implications.

April 16, 2015

# 15.09 Innovation in Russia: the territorial dimension

Filed under: 2015 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 5:03 pm

Riccardo Crescenzi and Alexander Jaax


The debate on Russia’s innovation performance has paid little attention to the role of geography. This paper addresses this gap by applying an ‘augmented’ regional knowledge function approach to examine the territorial dynamics of innovation in Russia. The empirical results suggest that regional R&D investments are strong predictors of local innovative performance. However, R&D activities are inadequately connected to regional human capital resources. The activities of foreign firms play a fundamental role as ‘global knowledge pipelines’. Different territorial dynamics of innovation are observed in the European and the Asian part of Russia, with regions to the East of the Urals less likely to benefit from interregional knowledge spillovers. The historical legacy from the Soviet era still emerges as a strong predictor of current innovative performance, shedding light on the importance of long-term path dependency in the Russian geography of innovation.

February 18, 2015

# 15.05 When are recruited competences supportive of innovation? Inter-industry differences in the importance of similarity and diversity

Filed under: 2015 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 6:20 pm

Sverre J. Herstad  & Tore Sandven


Building on recent evolutionary thinking, this paper links the present innovation performance of Norwegian firms to their past aggregate inflows of experienced employees through the labor market. In the upper part of OECDs technology intensity classification, firms strengthen their capacity to generate novelty sales by recruiting from within their own sector domains. By contrast, this form of recruitment is negatively associated with performance in low-tech industries. Aggregate inflows from related industries is generally supportive of performance, while inflows from prior employment in the research system is not. This underscores the dependence of industrial innovation on specialized competences and work practices that originate in the domain of industry itself; and, thus, the interdependencies between firms and larger industrial agglomerations.

November 14, 2014

# 14.22 Innovation in creative cities: Evidence from British small firms

Filed under: 2014 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 7:13 pm

Neil Lee and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


Creative cities are seen as important sites for the generation of new ideas, products and processes. Yet, beyond case studies of a few high-profile cities, there is little empirical evidence on the link between local creative industries concentration and innovation. This paper addresses this gap with an analysis of around 1,300 UK SMEs. The results suggest that firms in local economies with high shares of creative industries employment are significantly more likely to introduce entirely new products and processes than firms elsewhere, but not innovations which are simply new to the firm. This effect is not exclusive to creative industries firms and seems to be largely due to firms in medium sized, rather than large, cities. The results imply that creative cities may have functional specialisations in new content creation and so firms are more innovative in them.

September 5, 2014

# 14.17 Innovation and Regional Growth in Mexico: 2000-2010

Filed under: 2014 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 3:05 pm

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Edna MaríaVillarreal Peralta


This paper looks at the factors driving regional growth in Mexico, paying special attention to the potentially growth-enhancing role of innovation and innovation policy. The analysis combines innovation variables with indicators linked to the formation of adequate social conditions for innovation (the social filter), and spillovers for 31 Mexican states and the Mexico City capital district (the Distrito Federal) during the period 2000-2010. The results indicate that regional economic growth across Mexican states stems from direct investment in R&D in areas with favorable social filters and which can benefit not only from knowledge spillovers, but also from being surrounded by rich neighbors with good social conditions. The results stress that, although Mexican innovation policy has been relatively well targeted in order to generate greater economic growth, its relatively modest size may have undermined the attainment of its main objectives.

February 3, 2014

# 14.06 Quality of government and innovative performance in the regions of Europe

Filed under: 2014 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 2:48 pm

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Marco Di-Cataldo


Although it has frequently been argued that the quality of institutions affects the innovative potential of a territory, the link between institutions and innovation remains a black box. This paper aims to shed light on how institutions shape innovative capacity, by focusing on how regional government quality affects innovative performance in the regions of Europe. By exploiting new data on quality of government (QoG), we assess how government quality and its components (control of corruption, rule of law, government effectiveness and government accountability) shape patenting capacity across the regions of the European Union (EU). The results of the analysis – which are robust to controlling for the endogeneity of institutions – provide strong evidence of a causal link between the quality of local governments and the capacity of territories to generate innovation. In particular, low quality of government becomes a fundamental barrier for the innovative capacity of the periphery of the EU, strongly undermining any potential effect of any other measures aimed at promoting greater innovation. The results have important implications for the definition of innovation strategies in EU regions.

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