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Innovative Linkages and Proximity: Empirical Results from Recent Surveys of Small and Medium Sized Firms in German Regions


  • Rolf Sternberg


STERNBERG R. (1999) Innovative linkages and proximity: empirical results from recent surveys of small and medium sized firms in German regions, Reg. Studies 33 , 529-540. Recent theoretical discussion about modern approaches to explaining knowledge-based regional development in terms of industrial district, innovative milieu and network hypotheses emphasizes the importance of intraregional linkages between innovative actors. Among these, innovative firms and research institutions are regarded as most important for influencing regional economic development by intraregional linkages. This paper supplies databased research by analysing several comprehensive surveys in three German regions. It focuses on the role that spatial proximity of partners plays in the establishment of innovative linkages between manufacturing SMEs and other actors, such as research institutions, customers and suppliers. The results in general confirm the hypothesis of strong and increasing intraregional linkages between innovative actors. However, some of the empirical findings regarding industrial districts like Baden do surprise. STERNBERG R. (1999)Innovation maillee et proximite: des resultats empiriques provenant des enquetes recentes aupres des Petites et moyennes entreprises situees dans les regions d'Allemagne, Reg. Studies 33 , 529-540. Le debat theorique recent sur les facons d'expliquer, de nos jours, le developpement regional fonde sur les connaissances a partir des hypotheses sur les zones industrielles, les technopoleset les reseaux, souligne l'importance d'un maillage intraregional des acteurs de l'innovation. Dont les entreprises innovatrices et les instituts de recherche s'averent les plus importants pour le developpement economique regional a partir des maillages intraregionaux. Cet article fournit des resultats empiriques provenant de plusieurs enquetes detaillees menees dans trois regionsd'Allemagne. Il porte sur le role que joue l'aproximite spatiale des partenaires dans le tissage de l'innovation maillee entre Pmi et autres acteurs, tels les instituts de recherche, les clients et les fournisseurs. En general, les resultats viennent a l'appui de l'hypothese de maillages intraregionaux forts et croissants entre les acteurs de l'innovation. Toujours estil que certains des resultats empiriques relatifs aux zones industrielles, Baden par exemple, sont etonnants. STERNBERG R. (1999) Innovative Verflechtungen und raumliche Nahe: Empirische Ergebnisse jungerer Untersuchungen kleiner und mittel grosser Unternehmen (KMU) in deutschen Regionen, Reg. Studies 33 , 529-540. Aktuelle Erklarungsansatze wissensbasierter Regionalentwicklung wie der Industriedistriktansatz, die innovativen Milieus oder die Netzwerkhypothese betonen die Bedeutung intraregionaler Netzwerke von Innovationsakteuren. Dabei werden innovative Unternehmen und Forschungseinrichtungen zu den wichtigsten Innovationsakteuren gezahlt, sofern es um den Einfluss intraregionaler Verflechtungen auf Regionalentwicklung geht. Der Beitrag basiert auf umfangreichen Erhebungen in drei deutschen Regionen. Er konzentriert sichauf dieRolle, diedieraumliche Nahevon Kooperationspartnern fur die Entwicklung von innovativen Verflechtungen zwischen KMU des Verarbeitenden Gewerbes und anderenPartnertypen wie Forschungseinrichtungen, Kunden oder Zulieferern spielt. Die Ergebnisse bestatigen im wesentlichen die Hypothese einer starken und zunehmenden Bedeutung intraregionaler Verflechtungen zwischen den Innovationsakteuren. Allerdings uberraschen manche der empirischen Resultate, beispielsweiseim Zusammenhang mit dem vermeintlichen Industriedistrikt Baden.

Suggested Citation

  • Rolf Sternberg, 1999. "Innovative Linkages and Proximity: Empirical Results from Recent Surveys of Small and Medium Sized Firms in German Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(6), pages 529-540.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:33:y:1999:i:6:p:529-540
    DOI: 10.1080/00343409950078224

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kelley, Maryellen R. & Arora, Ashish, 1996. "The role of institution-building in US industrial modernization programs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 265-279, March.
    2. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-640, June.
    3. Bjørn T. Asheim, 2007. "Industrial Districts as ‘Learning Regions’: A Condition for Prosperity," Chapters,in: The Learning Region, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Reinhold Grotz & Boris Braun, 1997. "Territorial or Trans-territorial Networking: Spatial Aspects of Technology-oriented Cooperation within the German Mechanical Engineering Industry," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 545-557.
    5. Casper, Steven, 1996. "The development of decentralized supplier networks in East Germany: a challenge to the German model of industrial organization," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-322, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Almeida, Paul & Kogut, Bruce, 1997. "The Exploration of Technological Diversity and the Geographic Localization of Innovation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 21-31, February.
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