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Cluster Emergence and Network Evolution: A longitudinal analysis of the inventor network in Sophia-Antipolis

  • Anne Ter Wal


A widely held view in cluster research is that clusters are characterized by the presence of networks of local collective learning. However, with a growing number of studies indicating this is not necessarily the case, the question arises under which conditions clusters exhibit dense networks of local collective learning. Taking a longitudinal view at the high-tech cluster of Sophia-Antipolis this paper investigates whether and how networks of collective learning among inventors emerged throughout the growth of the cluster from the late 1970s onwards. On the basis of EPO and USPTO patent data we reconstructed co-inventorship networks for the cluster’s two main industries. Detecting a network of local collective learning only in Information Technology, in which growth has been increasingly based on spin-offs and start-ups, and not in Life Sciences, we suggest that the extent and nature of the local concentration of firms over time strongly affect the evolution of local collective learning networks.

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Paper provided by Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography in its series Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) with number 0810.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision: Jun 2008
Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0810
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  1. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
  2. James Bessen & Robert M Hunt, 2004. "An Empirical Look at Software Patents," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000167, David K. Levine.
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  4. R. Cowan & N. Jonard & J.-B. Zimmermann, 2006. "Evolving networks of inventors," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 155-174, April.
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  7. Asheim, Bjorn T & Isaksen, Arne, 2002. " Regional Innovation Systems: The Integration of Local 'Sticky' and Global 'Ubiquitous' Knowledge," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 77-86, January.
  8. Ejermo, Olof & Karlsson, Charlie, 2005. "Interregional Inventor Networks as Studied by Patent Co-inventorships," Papers in Innovation Studies 2005/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  9. Uwe Cantner & Holger Graf, 2004. "The Network of Innovators in Jena: An Application of Social Network Analysis," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft 04/2004, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  10. Casper, Steven, 2007. "How do technology clusters emerge and become sustainable?: Social network formation and inter-firm mobility within the San Diego biotechnology cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 438-455, May.
  11. Anne ter Wal & Ron A. Boschma, 2007. "Co-evolution of firms, industries and networks in space," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0707, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Aug 2007.
  12. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
  13. Lee Fleming & Koen Frenken, 2007. "The Evolution Of Inventor Networks In The Silicon Valley And Boston Regions," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 10(01), pages 53-71.
  14. S. Klepper & S. Sleeper, 2002. "Entry by Spinoffs," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2002-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  15. Christian Longhi, 1999. "Networks, Collective Learning and Technology Development in Innovative High Technology Regions: The Case of Sophia-Antipolis," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 333-342.
  16. Dahl, Michael S. & Pedersen, Christian O.R., 2004. "Knowledge flows through informal contacts in industrial clusters: myth or reality?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1673-1686, December.
  17. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2003. "Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited," KITeS Working Papers 142, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2003.
  18. Peter Maskell & Anders Malmberg, 2007. "Myopia, knowledge development and cluster evolution," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 603-618, September.
  19. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2002. "The elusive concept of localization economies: towards a knowledge-based theory of spatial clustering," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(3), pages 429-449, March.
  20. Acs, Zoltan J. & Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila, 2002. "Patents and innovation counts as measures of regional production of new knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1069-1085, September.
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