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Original Innovation, Learnt Innovation and Cities: Evidence from UK SMEs

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  • Neil Lee
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

Abstract

One of the key benefits of cities is that they allow the exchange of knowledge and information between economic actors. This may have two effects: it may create the conditions for entirely new innovations to emerge; and, it may allow firms to learn innovations from those nearby. Yet few studies have considered the impact of an urban location on whether innovations are original or learnt. This paper tests these hypotheses using survey evidence for over 1600 UK SMEs. It is shown that, while urban firms tend to be both product and process innovators, urban firms are disproportionately likely to introduce process innovations which are only new to the firm, rather than entirely original. Instead, the urban advantage in product innovation appears to come from a combination of the effects. The results highlight a need for a nuanced view of the link between cities and innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Lee & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2013. "Original Innovation, Learnt Innovation and Cities: Evidence from UK SMEs," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 50(9), pages 1742-1759, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:50:y:2013:i:9:p:1742-1759
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    Cited by:

    1. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2017. "Nothing is in the Air," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 22-39, March.
    2. Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Cities and Innovation: firm Effects or City Effects?," SERC Discussion Papers 0144, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    3. Neil Lee & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2014. "Innovation in Creative Cities: Evidence from British Small Firms," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(6), pages 494-512, August.
    4. Neil Lee & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2014. "Innovation in creative cities: Evidence from British small firms," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1422, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Nov 2014.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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