IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Proximité et innovation


  • Ron Boschma


[fre] Qu'est-ce que la proximité et quelles en sont les formes distinctes ? Dans cet article, après avoir clarifié ce concept, cinq formes de proximité sont d'abord présentées, qui répondent aux dimensions suivantes : cognitive, organisationnelle, sociale, institutionnelle et géographique. Pour chacune de ces cinq dimensions, sont ensuite analysés les impacts aussi bien positifs que négatifs de la proximité sur l'économie, en particulier sur l'apprentissage et l'innovation. Enfin, à partir de la constatation de l'existence de liens entre les différentes formes de proximité, on se demande quelles pourraient être les combinaisons possibles et de ces dernières dans le but d'améliorer les processus d'apprentissage et de production d'innovations. Quelques pistes de réflexion sont formulées à ce sujet. [eng] Proximity and innovation : some critical remarks - There is growing awareness that knowledge in general, and learning (or the capability to learn) in particular, may be critical to the competitive advantage of firms, regions and nations. In this respect, much has been written on the impact of 'proximity' on learning, knowledge creation and innovation. Broadly speaking, there is a general claim in the literature that the more proximity between actors (in whatever form), the more interaction, the more interactive learning, and the more innovation. . In thispaper, we take a rather critical stand towards this general claim. First of all, we need to clarify what is meant by the concept of proximity. Proximity means a lot more than just geography. It is a broad concept that incorporates similarity or adherence between actors or organizations. It includes both spatial and non-spatial dimensions. The non-spatial dimension is related to a broad category of cognitive, organizational, institutional and social aspects. These dimensions are often ill defined and, as a consequence, they show a great deal of overlap. In the paper, an attempt is made to define the notions of cognitive, organizational, social, institutional and geographical proximity in such a way, that such overlap is avoided and empirical measurement is made possible. . Secondly, the literature is basically right about stressing the importance of proximity for learning. However, it tends to overiook the fact that there may also be too much proximity involved, that is, proximity in its different fonns may also have negative effects on innovation (such as lock-in). This issue of positive versus negative aspects of proximity is a challenging one. When does proximity lead to good performance? We claim that it is likely there exists some kind of optimum of proximity. That is, there may be too little but also too much proximity which are both detrimental to interactive learning and innovation. For each of the five dimensions of proximity mentioned above, we discuss how this optimum of proximity may look like. Thirdly, it is quite common that each of the five dimensions of proximity are analyzed separately. In reality, different forms of proximity co-exist. One of the most exciting "research topics for the years to come is in what way are the different forms of proximity related to each other: are they substitutes or complements? There is littie understanding of possible combinations of these various forms. This paper sets out some preliminary ideas concerning this topic.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Boschma, 2004. "Proximité et innovation," Économie rurale, Programme National Persée, vol. 280(1), pages 8-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:recoru:ecoru_0013-0559_2004_num_280_1_5469
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ecoru.2004.5469

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Lusso, 2012. "The development dynamics of the Paris region multimedia cluster," ERSA conference papers ersa12p982, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Véronique SAINT GES (E3i-IFReDE-GRES & INRA), 2006. "Environmental policies relating to the use of pesticides: proximities and innovations (In French)," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2006-06, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    3. Geldes, Cristian & Felzensztein, Christian & Turkina, Ekaterina & Durand, Aurélia, 2015. "How does proximity affect interfirm marketing cooperation? A study of an agribusiness cluster," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 263-272.
    4. BEN KHALIFA, Adel, 2017. "Territoire Appropriant Et Economie De La Connaissance Basee Sur Les Tic : Une Approche Eclectique
      [Appropriating Territory and ICT-Based Knowledge economy: An Eclectic Approach]
      ," MPRA Paper 77535, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:prs:recoru:ecoru_0013-0559_2004_num_280_1_5469. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Equipe PERSEE). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.