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The Learning Region: The Impact of Social Capital and Weak Ties on Innovation

Listed author(s):
  • Christoph Hauser
  • Gottfried Tappeiner
  • Janette Walde
Registered author(s):

    Hauser C., Tappeiner G. and Walde J. (2007) The learning region: the impact of social capital and weak ties on innovation, Regional Studies 41, 75-88. Theories that emphasize the role of proximity and tacit knowledge in innovation processes highlight the importance of social interaction and networking for the diffusion of knowledge. A concept that captures the impact of human relations on economic activity is social capital. Using factorial analysis with data from the European Values Study (EVS), the multidimensionality of social capital is demonstrated empirically. The obtained independent dimensions serve as inputs in a knowledge production function estimated for a sample of European regions. One of the major results is that the impact of social capital on regional innovation processes is significant and comparable with the importance of human capital. However, not all dimensions of social capital exhibit the same explanatory power. The dimension 'Associational Activity' represents the strongest driving force for patenting activity. Hence, empirical evidence for the significance of weak ties in innovative processes is given. Hauser C., Tappeiner G. et Walde J. (2007) La region d'apprentissage: l'impact du capital social et des liens faibles sur l'innovation, Regional Studies 41, 75-88. Les theories qui pronent le role de la proximite et des connaissances techniques non-transferables dans les processus d'innovation soulignent l'importance de l'interaction sociale et de la constitution de reseaux pour la diffusion de la connaissance. Le capital social est une notion qui capte l'impact des relations humaines sur l'activite economique. A partir d'une analyse factorielle qui emploie des donnees provenant de la European Values Study (EVS) (une etude des valeurs europeennes) on demontre empiriquement le caractere multidimensionnel du capital social. Les dimensions independantes, ainsi obtenues, se servent d'inputs pour une fonction de production de la connaissance estimee pour un echantillon de regions europeennes. L'un des principaux resultats en est le suivant: l'impact du capital social sur le processus d'innovation regionale s'avere non-negligeable et comparable a l'importance du capital humain. Cependant, toutes les dimensions du capital social n'ont pas le meme pouvoir d'explication. La dimension appelee 'activite associative' represente la force motrice de l'obtention de brevets. Par la suite, on fournit des preuves empiriques quant a l'importance des liens faibles dans les processus d'innovation. Geographie economique Innovation Retombees de connaissance Capital social Hauser C., Tappeiner G. und Walde J. (2007) Die lernende Region: Auswirkung von Sozialkapital und schwachen Beziehungen auf die Innovation, Regional Studies 41, 75-88. In den Theorien, die die Rolle der Nahe und des impliziten Wissens fur Innovationsprozesse betonen, wird auf die Bedeutung von sozialer Interaktion und Netzwerken fur die Verbreitung von Wissen hingewiesen. Ein Konzept, das die Auswirkung der menschlichen Beziehungen auf die Wirtschaftstatigkeit verdeutlicht, ist das des Sozialkapitals. Mit Hilfe einer Faktorenanalyse anhand von Daten der European Values Study (EVS) liefern wir einen empirischen Beweis fur die Multidimensionalitat von Sozialkapital. Die gewonnenen unabhangigen Dimensionen dienen als Inputs in einer geschatzten Wissensproduktionsfunktion fur ausgewahlte europaische Regionen. Eines unserer wichtigsten Ergebnisse lautet, dass die Auswirkung des Sozialkapitals auf regionale Innovationsprozesse signifikant ist und sich mit der Bedeutung des Humankapitals vergleichen lasst. Allerdings eignen sich nicht alle Dimensionen des Sozialkapitals gleich gut fur eine Erlauterung. Der starkste Impuls fur Tatigkeiten im Bereich der Patentierung liegt in der Dimension der ,assoziativen Aktivitat'. Folglich finden wir empirische Belege fur die Bedeutung schwacher Beziehungen in Innovationsprozessen. Wirtschaftsgeografie Innovation Wissensubertragung Sozialkapital Hauser C., Tappeiner G. y Walde J. (2007) La region del aprendizaje: impacto del capital social y lazos debiles en la innovacion, Regional Studies 41, 75-88. Las teorias que recalcan el rol de la proximidad y el conocimiento tacito en los procesos de innovacion resaltan la importancia de la interaccion social y las redes para la divulgacion del conocimiento. Un concepto que capta el impacto de las relaciones humanas en la actividad economica es el Capital Social. Mediante analisis factoriales y datos del Estudio Europeo de Valores demostramos empiricamente el caracter multidimensional del Capital Social. Las dimensiones independientes obtenidas sirven de contribuciones a una funcion de produccion de conocimientos calculada para una muestra de regiones europeas. Uno de nuestros resultados mas importantes es el impacto significativo del Capital Social ejercido en los procesos de innovacion regional, comparable a la importancia del Capital Humano. Sin embargo, no todas las dimensiones del Capital Social presentan la misma capacidad explicativa. El aspecto de 'Actividad de Asociacion' representa la fuerza motriz mas solida para las patentes. Por consiguiente, presentamos la prueba empirica que demuestra la importancia de los lazos debiles en los procesos de innovacion. Geografia economica Innovacion Desbordamientos de conocimiento Capital social

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

    Volume (Year): 41 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 75-88

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:41:y:2007:i:1:p:75-88
    DOI: 10.1080/00343400600928368
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