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Localized Learning and Social Capital The Geography Effect in Technological and Institutional Dynamics

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  • Mark Lorenzen

Abstract

Providing a concise working definition of social capital, this conceptual paper analyses why social capital is important for learning and economic development, why it has a regional dimension, and how it is created. It argues that with the rise of the Knowledge Economy, social capital is becoming valuable because it organizes markets, lowering business firms’ costs of coordinating and allowing them to flexibly connect and reconnect. Thus, it serves as a social framework for localized learning in both breadth and depth. The paper suggests that a range of social phenomena such as altruism, trust, participation, and inclusion, are created when a matrix of various social relations is combined with particular normative and cognitive social institutions that facilitate cooperation and reciprocity. Such a matrix of social relations, plus facilitating institutions, is what the paper defines as “social capital”. The paper further suggests that social capital is formed at the regional (rather than national or international) level, because it is at this level we find the densest matrices of social relations. The paper also offers a discussion of how regional policies may be suited for promoting social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Lorenzen, 2005. "Localized Learning and Social Capital The Geography Effect in Technological and Institutional Dynamics," DRUID Working Papers 05-22, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:05-22
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    File URL: http://www3.druid.dk/wp/20050022.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-185, March.
    3. Andersen, Poul Houman, 1999. "Organizing international technological collaboration in subcontractor relationships: an investigation of the knowledge-stickiness problem," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 625-642, August.
    4. Arthur, W. Brian, 1990. "'Silicon Valley' locational clusters: when do increasing returns imply monopoly?," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 235-251, June.
    5. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    6. Nicolai Foss, 1996. "Higher-order industrial Capabilities and competitive advantage," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-20.
    7. Haas, Peter M., 1989. "Do regimes matter? Epistemic communities and Mediterranean pollution control," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(03), pages 377-403, June.
    8. Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge codification and the geography of innovation: the case of Brescia mechanical cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1479-1500, December.
    9. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    10. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    11. repec:mes:jeciss:v:30:y:1996:i:4:p:1212-1216 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; knowledge economy; regional dimension;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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