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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. 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.
  2. Elisa Giuliani, 2005. "The Structure of Cluster Knowledge Networks Uneven, not Pervasive and Collective," DRUID Working Papers 05-11, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  3. Lee Fleming & Koen Frenken, 2006. "The evolution of inventor networks in the Silicon Valley and Boston regions," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0609, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jul 2006.
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  13. 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.
  14. Anne Ter Wal & Ron Boschma, 2011. "Co-evolution of Firms, Industries and Networks in Space," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(7), pages 919-933.
  15. Krafft, Jackie, 2004. "Entry, exit and knowledge: evidence from a cluster in the info-communications industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1687-1706, December.
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  18. 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.
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