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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Roper, 2001. "Innovation, Networks and Plant Location: Some Evidence for Ireland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 215-228.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:35:y:2001:i:3:p:215-228
    DOI: 10.1080/713693801

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    Cited by:

    1. Justin Doran & Eoin O'Leary, 2016. "The Innovation Performance of Irish and Foreign-owned Firms: The Roles of R&D and Networking," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(9), pages 1384-1398, September.
    2. Maja Savic & Helen Lawton Smith & Ioannis Bournakis, 2014. "The effect of external knowledge sources and their geography on innovation in Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) SMEs; some Implications for de-industrialised regions in the UK," Working Papers 18, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Aug 2014.
    3. Stephen Roper, 2005. "Cross-Border and Local Cooperation on the island of Ireland - A Behavioural Perspective," ERSA conference papers ersa05p475, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Justin Doran & Declan Jordan & Eoin O'Leary, 2012. "The Effects of National and International Interaction on Innovation: Evidence from the Irish CIS: 2004--06," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 371-390, July.
    5. Kevin P. Heanue & David Jacobson, 2007. "Embeddedness and innovation in low and medium tech rural enterprises," Working Papers 0702, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
    6. repec:wsi:ijimxx:v:21:y:2017:i:01:n:s1363919617500037 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rafael Boix & Joan Trullén, 2004. "Knowledge, networks of cities and growth in regional urban systems: theory, measurement and policy implications," ERSA conference papers ersa04p85, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola & Love, James H., 2004. "An ex ante evaluation framework for the regional benefits of publicly supported R&D projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 487-509, April.
    9. Philip Cooke & Dafna Schwartz, 2008. "Regional Knowledge Economies: An Eu-Uk And Israel Perspective," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 99(2), pages 178-192, April.
    10. Love, James H. & Roper, Stephen, 2000. "Location And Network Effects On Innovation Success: Evidence For Uk, German And Irish Manufacturing Firms," ERSA conference papers ersa00p67, European Regional Science Association.
    11. Justin Doran & Eoin O'Leary, 2011. "External Interaction, Innovation and Productivity: An Application of the Innovation Value Chain to Ireland," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 199-222.
    12. Wojan, Timothy R. & McGranahan, David A., 2007. "Ambient Returns: Creative Capital's Contribution to Local Manufacturing Competitiveness," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 133-148, April.
    13. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola, 2015. "Knowledge stocks, knowledge flows and innovation: Evidence from matched patents and innovation panel data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1327-1340.
    14. Nijkamp, Peter, 2009. "Entrepreneurship, Development, and the Spatial Context Retrospect and Prospect," WIDER Working Paper Series 008, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Doran, Justin & O'Leary, Eoin, 2013. "The Roles of R&D and networking for innovation by Irish and foreign-owned firms: evidence from the Irish CIS 2006-08," MPRA Paper 47291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Ioannidis, Panos, 2015. "Από Τον Καποδίστρια Στον Καλλικράτη: Θεσμικές Μεταρρυθμίσεις Της Τοπικής Αυτοδιοίκησης Και Συνεργατικές Στρατηγικές Στην Ανατολική Μακεδονία Και Θράκη
      [From Kapodistrias to Kallikrates: Local Gover
      ," MPRA Paper 66614, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Stephen Roper, 2001. "Benchmarking Regional Innovation: A Comparison of Bavaria, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland," ERSA conference papers ersa01p39, European Regional Science Association.
    18. Li, Xiaoying & Wang, Jue & Liu, Xiaming, 2013. "Can locally-recruited R&D personnel significantly contribute to multinational subsidiary innovation in an emerging economy?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 639-651.
    19. Helen McGuirk & Declan Jordan, 2011. "Local Labour Market Diversity and Business Innovation: Evidence from Irish Manufacturing Businesses," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(12), pages 1945-1960, June.
    20. J Doran & G Ryan, 2016. "The effectiveness of R&D and external interaction for innovation: Insights from quantile regression," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 21(1), pages 47-65, March.
    21. Love, James H. & Roper, Stephen, 2001. "Location and network effects on innovation success: evidence for UK, German and Irish manufacturing plants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 643-661, April.
    22. Valdemar Smith & Anni Lene Broberg & Jesper Overgaard, 2002. "Does Location Matter for Firms' R&D Behaviour? Empirical Evidence for Danish Firms," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(8), pages 825-832.
    23. Mark Freel & Richard Harrison, 2006. "Innovation and cooperation in the small firm sector: Evidence from 'Northern Britain'," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 289-305.

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    Innovation; Networks; Location; Ireland; Clustering;


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