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The territorial dynamics of innovation: a Europe-United States comparative analysis

  • Riccardo Crescenzi
  • Andrés Rodriguez-Pose
  • Michael Storper

The United States and European Union differ significantly in terms of their innovative capacity: the former have been able to gain and maintain world leadership in innovation and technology while the latter continues to lag. Notwithstanding the magnitude of this innovation gap and the political emphasis placed upon it on both sides of the Atlantic, very little systematic comparative analysis has been carried out on its causes. The empirical literature has emphasized the structural differences between the two continents in the quantity and quality of the major ‘inputs’ to innovation: R&D investments and human capital. The very different spatial organization of innovative activities in the EU and the US—as suggested by a variety of contributions in the field of economic geography—could also influence innovative output. This article analyses and compares a wide set of territorial processes that influence innovation in Europe and the United States. The higher mobility of capital, population and knowledge in the US not only promotes the agglomeration of research activity in specific areas of the country but also enables a variety of territorial mechanisms to fully exploit local innovative activities and (informational) synergies. In the European Union, in contrast, imperfect market integration and institutional and cultural barriers across the continent prevent innovative agents from maximizing the benefits from external economies and localized interactions, but compensatory forms of geographical process may be emerging in concert with further European integration.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 673-709

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:7:y:2007:i:6:p:673-709
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  1. Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2004. "European Labour Mobility: Challenges and Potentials," IZA Discussion Papers 1410, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. François VANDAMME, 2000. "Labour mobility within the European Union: Findings, stakes and prospects," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(4), pages 437-455, December.
  3. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1995. "Tackling the European Migration Problems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
  4. Rosina Moreno & Raffaele Paci & Stefano Usai, 2005. "Spatial spillovers and innovation activity in European regions," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(10), pages 1793-1812, October.
  5. Mario A. Maggioni & Mario Nosvelli & T. Erika Uberti, 2006. "Space Vs. Networks in the Geography of Innovation: A European Analysis," Working Papers 2006.153, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Myriam Mariani, 2002. "Next to Production or to Technological Clusters? The Economics and Management of R&D Location," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 131-152, May.
  7. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2003. "Buzz: Face-to-Face Contact and the Urban Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0598, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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