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Innovation, Networks and Plant Location: Some Evidence for Ireland

  • Stephen Roper

The influence of networks and location on plants' innovation activities has received considerable attention over the last decade. Most empirical work has centred on the hypotheses suggested by the urban hierarchy model. That is, that resource-rich, urban areas may be more conducive to product innovation while more rural areas are better suited to process change. This paper differentiates among four types of areas in Ireland (Urban, Urban-periphery, Rural, and Second Centre) and uses survey evidence to examine the impact of these different environments on plants' innovation activity. There are two main empirical conclusions. First, networks play an important part in determining the probability that plants will be innovative and, to a lesser extent, the success of that innovation. This provides some conditional support for recent calls for network-based regional development strategies. Secondly, there is no evidence of any urban hierarchy of innovation in Ireland, suggesting that regional policy initiatives to disperse economic activity throughout Ireland are likely to have had little effect on innovation. Dans les dix dernieres annees, l'influence des reseaux et de la localisation sur l'innovation a attire beaucoup d'attention. Dans une large mesure, les etudes empiriques ont porte sur les hypotheses que soutient le modele de hierarchie urbaine. Autrement dit, les zones urbaines qui sont riches en ressources pourraient s'averer plus propices a l'innovation des produits, tandis que les zones plutot rurales se pretent au developpement des processus. Cet article cherche a delimiter quatre types de zones en Irlande (a savoir, zones urbaine, periurbaine, rurale et centre de deuxieme rang) et examine a partir des preuves provenant des enquetes l'impact de ces divers environnements sur l'innovation. Il en resulte deux conclusions empiriques majeures. Primo, les reseaux jouent un role important dans la determination de la probabilite que les etablissements seront innovateurs et, dans une moindre mesure, de la reussite de l'innovation en question. Cela constitue une reponse partielle a la demande recente de politiques d'amenagement du territoire fondees sur la notion de reseaux. Secundo, il n'y a aucune preuve de l'existence d'une hierarchie urbaine en Irlande pour ce qui est de l'innovation, ce qui laisse supposer que l'impact sur l'innovation des actions regionales en faveur d'une redistribution de l'activite economique a travers l'Irlande pourrait s'averer tres limite. Im letzten Jahrzehnt ist dem Einfluss, den Netzwerke und Standorte auf Innovationsunternehmungen von Niederlassungen ausuben, viel Beachtung zuteil geworden. Die meisten empirischen Arbeiten haben sich auf die Hypothese konzentriert, die das Modell der Stadtehierarchie nahegelegt hat, welches besagt, dass gut ausgestattete stadtische Gebiete sich eher zur Produktionsinnovation anbieten, wahrend landlichere Gebiete sich besser fur Umstellungen in Verfahrenstechnik eignen. Dieser Aufsatz unterscheidet zwistchen vier Gebietstypen in Irland (stadtischen, stadtrandlichen, landlichen und Zweitzentren) und benutzt Beweise von Untersuchungen, um die Auswirkung dieser verschiedenartigen Umwelten auf die Innovationsunternehmungen der Niederlassungen zu untersuchen. Es ergeben sich zwei empirische Schlussfolgerungen. Erstens spielen Netzwerke eine wichtige Rolle bei der Bestimmung der Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass Niederlassungen sich innovativ betatigen werden, und, in geringerem Masse, des Erfolges jener Innovation. Dies bedeutet bedingte Unterstutzung fur jungste Forderungen nach auf Netzwerke gestutzten regionalen Entwicklungsstrategien. Zweitens gibt es keinerlei Anzeichen irgendeiner stadtischen Hierarchie der Innovation in Irland; das legt nahe, dass Initiativen der Regionalpolitik zur Streuung wirtschaftlicher Unternehmungen uber ganz Irland sich wahrscheinlich kaum auf Innovation ausgewirkt haben.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Regional Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 215-228

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Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:35:y:2001:i:3:p:215-228
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