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Proximity, Networks and Knowledge Production in Europe


  • E. Marrocu


  • R. Paci


  • S. Usai



This paper aims at investigating the role of different types of proximity on the technological activity of a region within the context of a knowledge production function where R&D expenditure and human capital are the main internal inputs. We intend to assess if, and how much, the creation of new ideas in a certain region is the result of knowledge flows coming from proximate regions. In particular, we examine in detail the concept of proximity combining the usual geographical dimension with the institutional, technological, social and organizational proximity. The analysis is implemented for an ample dataset referring to 276 regions in 29 European countries (EU27 plus Norway, Switzerland) for the last decade. Results show that human capital and R&D are clearly essential for innovative activity but with an impact which is much higher for the former factor. As for the proximity and network effects, we find that geography is important but less than technological and cognitive proximity. Social and organizational networks are also relevant although their role is modest.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Marrocu & R. Paci & S. Usai, 2011. "Proximity, Networks and Knowledge Production in Europe," Working Paper CRENoS 201109, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:201109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Domenico Delli Gatti & Mauro Gallegati & Bruce Greenwald & Alberto Russo & Joseph Stiglitz, 2009. "Business fluctuations and bankruptcy avalanches in an evolving network economy," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 4(2), pages 195-212, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Nathan, Max & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2016. "Do inventors talk to strangers? On proximity and collaborative knowledge creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 177-194.
    2. Ernest Miguélez & Rosina Moreno, 2013. "Do Labour Mobility and Technological Collaborations Foster Geographical Knowledge Diffusion? The Case of European Regions," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 321-354, June.
    3. Marta Foddi & Raffaele Paci & Alessandra Colombelli, 2011. "The knowledge regions in the enlarged Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1140, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Riccardo Crescenzi & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2012. "An ‘Integrated’ Framework For The Comparative Analysis Of The Territorial Innovation Dynamics Of Developed And Emerging Countries," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 517-533, July.
    5. Sylvie Charlot & Riccardo Crescenzi & Antonio Musolesi, 2014. "Augmented and Unconstrained: revisiting the Regional Knowledge Production Function," SEEDS Working Papers 2414, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Aug 2014.
    6. R. Basile & S. Usai, 2012. "Analysis of regional endogenous growth," Working Paper CRENoS 201211, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    7. Stefano Usai & Emanuela Marrocu & Raffaele Paci, 2017. "Networks, Proximities, and Interfirm Knowledge Exchanges," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 40(4), pages 377-404, July.
    8. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2015. "Proximity and Innovation: From Statics to Dynamics," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(6), pages 907-920, June.
    9. Emmanouil Tranos & Peter Nijkamp, 2013. "The Death Of Distance Revisited: Cyber-Place, Physical And Relational Proximities," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 855-873, December.
    10. M. Foddi & S. Usai, 2012. "Regional innovation performance in Europe," Working Paper CRENoS 201221, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    11. Ernest Miguele & Rosina Moreno, 2012. "Do labour mobility and networks foster geographical knowledge diffusion? The case of European regions," Working Papers XREAP2012-14, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jul 2012.

    More about this item


    human capital; technological production; proximity; networks;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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