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Agglomeration and the Spatial Distribution of Creativity

  • Andersson, Roland
  • Quigley, John M.
  • Wilhelmsson, Mats

This article analyses the spatial distribution of "creativity" - the production of new knowledge. We analyse commercial patents granted in Sweden between 1994 and 2001 using a panel of 100 labour market areas that encompass the entire country. We relate patent activity to measures of localisation and urbanisation, to the industrial composition and size distribution of firms, and to the regional distribution of human capital. Our analysis confirms the importance of human capital and research facilities in stimulating regional patent output. Our results document the importance of agglomeration and spatial factors in influencing creativity: patent activity is increased in larger and more dense labour markets and in regions in which a larger fraction of the labour force is employed in medium-sized firms. Our results also indicate that creativity is greater in labour markets with more diverse employment bases and in those which contain a larger share of national employment in certain industries, thus confirming the importance of urbanisation and localisation economies in stimulating creativity. Our quantitative results suggest that the urbanisation of Sweden during the 1990s had an important effect upon the aggregate level of patent activity in the country, leading to increases of up to 15 percent in aggregate patents.

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Paper provided by Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy in its series Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series with number qt1wd73461.

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Date of creation: 02 Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt1wd73461
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