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Technological enclaves and industrial districts: An analysis of the regional distribution of innovative activity in Europe

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  • Raffaele Paci

    ()

  • Stefano Usai

    ()

Abstract

This paper explores the spatial distribution of innovative and productive activity across 109 regions of the European Union, thanks to an original databank on regional patents statistics. The main results worth highlighting are as follows. The technological activity in the EU appears to be highly concentrated, although concentration tends to decline over the eighties. This results from the huge differences between southern and northern Europe. As expected, there is a positive association between the regional distribution of innovative activity and labour productivity. Further, contrary to previous evidence on the United States, our data show a significant link between the specialisation in innovation and in production both at the country and at the industry level. This suggests that localised knowledge spillovers and agglomeration economies foster a local economic system towards a specialisation in both production and technology. More surprisingly there appears a negative correlation between technological concentration and aggregate productivity, that is the European regions which enjoy a more homogeneous distribution of their technological capability across different industrial sectors appear to be also characterised by a higher productivity level. This outcome may suggest the presence of positive inter-industry externalities that favour those regions which succeed in covering a broader range of technological activities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa98p461.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa98p461

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  1. Brusco, Sebastiano, 1982. "The Emilian Model: Productive Decentralisation and Social Integration," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 167-84, June.
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  7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen, 1996. "Heading for Divergence? Regional Growth in Europe Reconsidered," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 431-448, 09.
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  10. Daniel Coronado Guerrero & Manuel Acosta Sero, 1997. "Spatial Distribution of Patents in Spain: Determining Factors and Consequences on Regional Development," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(4), pages 381-390.
  11. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-75, September.
  12. Stefano Breschi, 2000. "The Geography of Innovation: A Cross-sector Analysis," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 213-229.
  13. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
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