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Focal Firms as Technological Gatakeepers within Industrial Districts Knowledge Creation and Dissemination in the Italian Packaging Machinery Industry

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  • Alessandro Malipiero
  • Federico Munari
  • Maurizio Sobrero

Abstract

Despite the diffusion of communication tools and boundary spanning technologies, knowledge flows in innovation processes retain a distinct localized nature in many industries and geographical clusters emerge as critical areas to foster technological diffusion. In this paper we focus on the role of focal firms in industrial clusters as “gatekeepers” introducing external technological novelties in the cluster and enacting new useful knowledge production locally, thus enhancing international competitive capabilities of all firms in the cluster. We analyze a longitudinal dataset of 720 patents 1 Corresponding Author www.druid.dk granted by USPTO between 1990 and 2003 to firms in the automatic packaging machinery industrial district of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy, and a matched-sample to control for the uneven geographical distribution of R&D and patenting activities. Our results show that firms within the cluster use local knowledge to a greater extent and more rapidly than knowledge from the outside than it would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Moreover, focal firms use external knowledge to a greater extent than other firms operating in the cluster, and other (non focal) firms within the cluster use knowledge from focal firms to a greater extent than would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Implications for research on the geographical distribution of innovation activities are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Malipiero & Federico Munari & Maurizio Sobrero, 2005. "Focal Firms as Technological Gatakeepers within Industrial Districts Knowledge Creation and Dissemination in the Italian Packaging Machinery Industry," DRUID Working Papers 05-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:05-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frédéric Rychen & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2009. "Industrial Clusters and the Knowledge Based Economy : from open to distributed structures ?," Working Papers halshs-00353425, HAL.
    2. F. Xavier Molina-Morales & Josep Capó-Vicedo & M. Teresa Martínez-Fernández & Manuel Expósito-Langa, 2013. "Social capital in industrial districts: Influence of the strength of ties and density of the network on the sense of belonging to the district," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(4), pages 773-789, November.
    3. Ron Boschma & Anne L. J. ter Wal, 2007. "Knowledge Networks and Innovative Performance in an Industrial District: The Case of a Footwear District in the South of Italy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 177-199.
    4. Xavier Molina-Morales, F. & Belso-Martinez, José Antonio & Mas-Verdú, Francisco, 2016. "Interactive effects of internal brokerage activities in clusters: The case of the Spanish Toy Valley," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1785-1790.
    5. Yoon, Hyungseok & Yun, Sunyoung & Lee, Joosung & Phillips, Fred, 2015. "Entrepreneurship in East Asian Regional Innovation Systems: Role of social capital," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 83-95.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation processes; Knowledge flows; Geographical clusters;

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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