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Gatekeepers in Regional Networks of Innovators

  • Holger Graf

Strong interaction of innovative actors within a local network is commonly said to increase the region-specific knowledge-stock, leading to a comparative advantage. However, it might also lead to a lock-in situation, if local trajectories are directed towards inferior solutions. Accordingly, it is argued that successful clusters are characterised by the existence of gatekeepers, i.e. actors that generate novelty by drawing on local and external knowledge. We study the role and characteristics of gatekeepers within regional innovation systems by applying social network analysis based on patent data for four East-German regions. The regional networks appear to be significantly different with respect to the degree of interaction and with respect to their outward orientation. Concerning the characteristics of gatekeepers, we find that absorptive capacity is more important than size. Public research organisations serve the functions of a gatekeeper to a higher degree than private actors.

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Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 08-19.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:08-19
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