Geographic clustering and network evolution of innovative activities: Evidence from China’s patents
This study examines the spatial distribution and social structure of processes of learning and knowledge creation within the context of the inventor network connecting Chinese patent teams. Results uncover mixed tendencies toward both geographic co-location and dispersion arising from combined processes of intra-cluster learning and extra-cluster networking. These processes unfold within a social network that becomes less fragmented over time: as a giant component emerges and increases in size, social distances among inventors become longer. The interplay between geographic and network proximity is assessed against China’s institutional environment. Implications of the findings are discussed for regional development and policy-making.
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