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articles: Localised knowledge spillovers vs. innovative milieux: Knowledge "tacitness" reconsidered


  • Stefano Breschi

    (CESPRI, Università L. Bocconi, Milan; and Università Castellanza LIUC, 21053 Castellanza, Italy)

  • Francesco Lissoni

    (CESPRI, Università L. Bocconi, Milan; and Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italy)


This article provides a critical discussion of the recent econometric literature on "localised knowledge spillovers" and the related notion of tacit knowledge. The basic claim of the article is that the increasing, and more or less automatic reliance of industrial geographers upon such econometric evidence and theoretical concepts to support their work on industrial districts, hi-tech agglomerations and, more broadly, local innovation systems is not well placed and risks to ge nerate conceptual confusion and to distort research agendas. Following some recent advances in the economics of knowledge, the article also suggests that more research efforts should instead be devoted to exploring how knowledge is actually transmitted, among whom, at what distance, and on the basis of which codebooks.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2001. "articles: Localised knowledge spillovers vs. innovative milieux: Knowledge "tacitness" reconsidered," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(3), pages 255-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:presci:v:80:y:2001:i:3:p:255-273
    Note: Received: 30 September 2000

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    More about this item


    Innovative milieux; regional systems; knowledge spillovers; externalities; industrial districts;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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