Knowledge spillovers and the geography of innovation
In: Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics
This chapter focuses on the geographic dimensions of knowledge spillovers. The starting point comes from the economics of innovation and technological change. This tradition focused on the innovation production function however it was aspatial or insensitive to issues involving location and geography. However, empirical results hinted that knowledge production had a spatial dimension. Armed with a new theoretical understanding about the role and significance of knowledge spillovers and the manner in which they are localized, scholars began to estimate the knowledge production function with a spatial dimension. Location and geographic space have become key factors in explaining the determinants of innovation and technological change. The chapter also identifies new insights that have sought to penetrate the black box of geographic space by addressing a limitation inherent in the model of the knowledge production. These insights come from a rich tradition of analyzing the role of both localization and urbanization economies, by extending the focus to the organization of economic activity within a spatial dimension and examine how different organizational aspects influence economic performance. While the endogenous growth theory emphasizes the importance of investments in research and development and human capital, a research agenda needs to be mapped out identifying the role that investments in spillover conduits can make in generating economic growth. It may be that a mapping of the process by which new knowledge is created, externalized and commercialized, hold the key to providing the microeconomic linkages to endogenous macroeconomic growth.
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