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The effect of regional differences on the performance of software firms in the Netherlands

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  • Anet Weterings

    ()

  • Ron Boschma

    ()

Abstract

In this paper, we concentrate on how evolutionary economics contributes to a better understanding of the spatial evolution of newly emerging industries. Inspired by evolutionary thinking, four types of explanations are discussed and tested in an empirical analysis of the spatial pattern of the software sector in the Netherlands. Traditionally, agglomeration economies provide an explanation for the spatial concentration of an industry. Firms located in a cluster of similar or related sectors benefit from cost reductions, due to lower transportation costs, a thick labour market, specialised suppliers and information spillovers. An evolutionary approach on agglomeration economies provides an alternative view. It focuses explicit attention on knowledge spillovers as a vehicle of local diffusion of organizational routines or competences from one firm to the other. Such transfers of (tacit) knowledge are facilitated by spatial proximity of firms and a common knowledge base. In addition, an evolutionary approach takes a dynamic perspective on the role of agglomeration economies. During the initial stage of development of a new industry, the surrounding environment is still directed to routines and competences related to existing industries. When the new industry concentrates in a particular area to a considerable degree, a supportive environment (specialized knowledge, labour with specific skills) may gradually come into being, and localization economies may arise. Other evolutionary mechanisms may also provide an explanation for the spatial formation of new industries. We distinguish another three of them. First of all, transfer of knowledge and successful routines between firms in an emerging industry may occur through spin-off dynamics. Secondly, (social) networks may function as effective channels of knowledge diffusion and interactive learning, because they can provide a common knowledge base and mutual understanding and trust. Thirdly, firms in new industries with organizational capabilities that can deal effectively with the lack of required resources (such as knowledge, skills and capital) may become dominant, due to selection and imitation. Based on cross-sectional data gathered among 265 software firms in the Netherlands in 2003, we have tested which factors have influenced the innovative productivity of these firms. Using regression techniques, the outcomes suggest that spin-offs and firms with organizational capabilities perform better, while networks relations do not seem to affect the performance of software firms. Geography matters as well: software firms located in a region with a labour market with more ICT-skills show a higher innovative productivity. Keywords: evolutionary economics, industrial location, evolution of industries, software sector, agglomeration economies, organizational capabilities, spin-off, networks

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa04p208.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p208

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Weterings, Anet & Koster, Sierdjan, 2007. "Inheriting knowledge and sustaining relationships: What stimulates the innovative performance of small software firms in the Netherlands?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 320-335, April.
  2. Liargovas, Panagiotis & Daskalopoulou, Irene, 2011. "Capital allocation in the Greek regions," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 866-888.
  3. Schimke, Antje & Teichert, Nina & Ott, Ingrid, 2012. "Impact of local knowledge endowment on employment growth in nanotechnology," Working Paper Series in Economics 38, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  4. Oliver Farhauer & Alexandra Kröll, 2012. "Diversified specialisation—going one step beyond regional economics’ specialisation-diversification concept," Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 63-84, March.
  5. Rik Wenting & Oedzge Atzema & Koen Frenken, 2008. "Urban Amenities or Agglomeration Economies? Locational Behaviour and Entrepreneurial Success of Dutch Fashion Designers," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0803, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jan 2008.
  6. Basant, Rakesh & Chandra, Pankaj & Upadhyayula, Rajesh, . "Knowledge Flows and Capability Building in the Indian IT Sector: A Comparative Analysis of Cluster and Non-Cluster Locations," IIMA Working Papers WP2011-10-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  7. Dirk-Jan Koch & Ruerd Ruben, 2008. "Spatial Clustering Of NGOs: An Evolutionary Economic Geography Approach," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0814, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Aug 2008.
  8. Michaela Trippl & Lukas Lengauer & Franz Tödtling, 2007. "Innovation und Wissensnetze im Wiener Informations- und Kommunikationtechnologiecluster," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2007_02, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  9. Lukas Lengauer & Franz Tödtling & Michaela Trippl, 2006. "Der Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien-Sektor in Österreich: Struktur, Entwicklungsdynamik und räumliche Muster," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2006_06, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  10. Tom Broekel & Ron Boschma, 2012. "Knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry: the proximity paradox," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 409-433, March.
  11. Christ, Julian P., 2009. "New Economic Geography reloaded: localized knowledge spillovers and the geography of innovation," FZID Discussion Papers 01-2009, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  12. Henri L.F. de Groot & Jacques Poot & Martijn J. Smit, 2007. "Agglomeration, Innovation and Regional Development: Theoretical Perspectives and Meta-Analysis," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-079/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Sierdjan Koster, 2009. "Taking The First Hurdle In New Firm Formation. The Effects Of Industry-Specific Skills And Support On Survival During The Founding Process," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 36-62, JUNE.

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