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Knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry: the proximity paradox

  • Tom Broekel

    ()

  • Ron Boschma

    ()

The importance of geographical proximity for interaction and knowledge sharing has been discussed extensively in economic geography in recent years. There is increasing consensus that it is just one out of many types of proximities that might be relevant. We argue that proximity may be a crucial driver for agents to connect and exchange knowledge, but too much proximity between these agents on any of the dimensions might harm their innovative performance at the same time. In a study on knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry, we test this so-called proximity paradox empirically. We find evidence that the proximity paradox holds to some degree. Our study clearly shows that cognitive, social and geographical proximity are crucial for explaining the knowledge network of the Dutch aviation industry. But while it takes cognitive, social and geographical proximity to exchange knowledge, we found evidence that proximity lowers firms's innovative performance, but only in the cognitive dimension.

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File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg0915.pdf
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Paper provided by Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography in its series Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) with number 0915.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision: Oct 2009
Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0915
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Web page: http://econ.geo.uu.nl

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  1. Nooteboom, B. & Vanhaverbeke, W.P.M. & Duijsters, G.M. & Gilsing, V.A. & Oord, A., 2006. "Optimal Cognitive Distance and Absorptive Capacity," Discussion Paper 2006-33, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Anet Weterings & Ron Boschma, 2004. "The effect of regional differences on the performance of software firms in the Netherlands," ERSA conference papers ersa04p208, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Raphael Suire & Jerome Vicente, 2010. "How do Clusters/Pipelines and Core/Periphery Structures Work Together in Knowledge Processes?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1008, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jun 2010.
  4. Ron Boschma & Anne L. J. ter Wal, 2007. "Knowledge Networks and Innovative Performance in an Industrial District: The Case of a Footwear District in the South of Italy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 177-199.
  5. Tom Broekel & Matthias Buerger & Thomas Brenner, 2010. "An investigation of the relation between cooperation and the innovative success of German regions," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1011, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Oct 2010.
  6. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco & Malerba, Franco, 2003. "Knowledge-relatedness in firm technological diversification," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-87, January.
  7. Holger Graf, 2011. "Gatekeepers in regional networks of innovators," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 173-198.
  8. Tom Broekel & Martin Binder, 2007. "The Regional Dimension of Knowledge Transfers—A Behavioral Approach," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 151-175.
  9. Beise, Marian & Stahl, Harald, 1998. "Public research and industrial innovations in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-37, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Andrea Morrison, 2004. "Gatekeepers of knowledge within industrial districts:who they are, how they interact," KITeS Working Papers 163, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2004.
  11. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
  12. Alessia Sammarra & Lucio Biggiero, 2008. "Heterogeneity and Specificity of Inter-Firm Knowledge Flows in Innovation Networks," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 800-829, 06.
  13. Meric S. Gertler, 2003. "Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or The undefinable tacitness of being (there)," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 75-99, January.
  14. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder, 2007. "Technological proximity and the choice of cooperation partner," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 45-65, June.
  15. Ron Boschma & Rikard Eriksson & Urban Lindgren, 2009. "How does labour mobility affect the performance of plants? The importance of relatedness and geographical proximity," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 169-190, March.
  16. Olav Sorenson & Jasjit Singh, 2007. "Science, Social Networks and Spillovers," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 219-238.
  17. Cassi, Lorenzo & Plunket, Anne, 2010. "The determinants of co-inventor tie formation: proximity and network dynamics," MPRA Paper 27303, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Andr Torre Shaw & Jean-Pierre Gilly, 2000. "On the Analytical Dimension of Proximity Dynamics," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 169-180.
  19. Mowery, David C. & Oxley, Joanne E. & Silverman, Brian S., 1998. "Technological overlap and interfirm cooperation: implications for the resource-based view of the firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 507-523, September.
  20. Pierre-Alexandre Balland, 2009. "Proximity and the Evolution of Collaboration Networks: Evidence from R&D Projects within the GNSS Industry," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0914, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Oct 2009.
  21. Roderik Ponds & Frank van Oort & Koen Frenken, 2007. "The geographical and institutional proximity of research collaboration," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(3), pages 423-443, 08.
  22. 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.
  23. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
  24. Jorge Niosi & Majlinda Zhegu, 2005. "Aerospace Clusters: Local or Global Knowledge Spillovers?," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 5-29.
  25. Andre Torre & Alain Rallet, 2005. "Proximity and Localization," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 47-59.
  26. Ron Boschma & Ron Martin (ed.), 2010. "The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography," Books, Edward Elgar, number 12864.
  27. Jerome Vicente & Pierre Balland & Olivier Brossard, 2011. "Getting into Networks and Clusters: Evidence from the Midi-Pyrenean Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Collaboration Network," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(8), pages 1059-1078.
  28. Pfann, Gerard A & Ben Kriechel, 2003. "Heterogeneity among Displaced Workers," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 164, Royal Economic Society.
  29. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
  30. Mia Gray & Elyse Golob & Ann Markusen, 1996. "Big Firms, Long Arms, Wide Shoulders: The 'Hub-and-Spoke' Industrial District in the Seattle Region," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(7), pages 651-666.
  31. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
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