Location, collocation and R&D alliances in the European ICT industry
This paper argues that spatial proximity plays a role in determining the propensity of firms to engage in R&D alliances. Drawing from economic geography, network theory and innovation theory, we discuss how prior collocation can affect the propensity to engage in R&D alliances, arguing that alliances can act both as a substitute and as a complement to collocation. Using a novel dataset matching alliances and patent data for the European ICT industry, we show that alliances are complementary to prior collocation (at both national and sub-national regional level) of firm's R&D labs. In such an intra-industry, oligopolistic scenario, firms strategically use R&D alliances as a means to limit knowledge flows and protect competences, rather than to promote knowledge flows. Furthermore, while a common institutional context is important to promote collaboration, because of the high level of R&D internationalisation as well as the complex social networks within an oligopolistic industry, national institutional contexts are less relevant.
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