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Regional innovation systems revisited: networks, institutions, policy and complexity

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  • Elvira Uyarra

Abstract

Despite the popularity of the concept 'regional innovation system' (RIS) in the academic literature and in policy practice, multiple interpretations and uses of the term coexist. For instance while some scholars view RIS as subsystems of national or sector-based systems presenting particular spatial features, other portray them as smaller-scale versions of national systems (Lagendijk, 1999; Howells, 1999; Iammarino, 2005, Uyarra, 2010). Doloreux & Parto (2005) identify three dimensions of regional innovation systems, namely: the interactions between different actors in the innovation process, the role of institutions, and the use of regional innovation systems analysis to inform policy decisions. More generally, Werker & Athreye (2004) differentiate between micro and meso approaches explaining regional innovation; while the former concentrate on the entrepreneurial behaviour of innovative firms, the latter focus on the structural elements manifested in the institutional set-up of regional and industrial systems. Boschma & Frenken (2006) distinguish between institutional and evolutionary views to innovation and geography as alternatives to neoclassical views. Related literature on national innovation systems (NIS) is no less heterogeneous, with numerous usages and interpretations (Miettinen, 2002; Balzat & Hanusch, 2004; Sharif, 2006; Lundvall, 2007). Despite the popularity of the concept ‘innovation system’ in the academic literature and in policy practice, the term itself remains ambiguous (Doloreux & Parto 2005; Uyarra, 2010). This fuzziness (Markusen, 2003), even ‘black boxing’ of the term, may have obscured certain aspects influencing regional development while overstating others (Uyarra & Flanagan, 2010).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Public policies and local development in its series Openloc Working Papers with number 1113.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1113

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Keywords: Regional systems of innovation; institutions; innovation policy;

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  1. Koen Frenken & Frank Van Oort & Thijs Verburg, 2007. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 685-697.
  2. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder & Anne ter Wal, 2008. "Innovator networks and regional knowledge base," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-042, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Gernot Grabher & David Stark, 1997. "Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 533-544.
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  5. Ann Markusen, 1999. "Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 869-884.
  6. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2005. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0501, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
  7. Markus Balzat & Horst Hanusch, 2004. "Recent trends in the research on national innovation systems," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 197-210, 06.
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  9. Claudia Werker & Suma Athreye, 2004. "Marshall’s disciples: knowledge and innovation driving regional economic development and growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 505-523, December.
  10. Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2008. "Some Notes on Institutions in Evolutionary Economic Geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0817, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Oct 2008.
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  14. Flanagan, Kieron & Uyarra, Elvira & Laranja, Manuel, 2011. "Reconceptualising the 'policy mix' for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 702-713, June.
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  16. Danny MacKinnon & Andrew Cumbers & Andy Pike & Kean Birch & Robert McMaster, 2009. "Evolution in Economic Geography: Institutions, Political Economy, and Adaptation," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(2), pages 129-150, 04.
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Cited by:
  1. Cocchi, Andrea, 2011. "Business models as systemic instruments for the evolution of traditional districts?," MPRA Paper 33766, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Riccardo Crescenzi, 2014. "The evolving dialogue between Innovation and Economic Geography. From physical distance to non-spatial proximities and 'integrated' frameworks," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1408, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Mar 2014.

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