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Critical links in knowledge networks. What about proximities and gatekeeper organizations?


  • Tom Broekel
  • Wladimir Mueller


The paper analyzes links in knowledge networks that are essential for the integration and knowledge diffusion properties of the entire network. By focusing on critical links, as defined in network science, we evaluate these linksÕ properties from the perspective of the proximity and regional gatekeeper literature. We thereby gain insights into likely conditions of their emergence and functions. Moreover, we extend the dyadic perspective on regional gatekeeper organizations and link it more strongly to the network science and proximity framework literature. An empirical study applies these arguments and investigates the proximity characteristics of critical links in 132 technology-specific subsidized knowledge networks in Germany. The results show that critical links tend be formed between regional gatekeepers that offer related knowledge resources. The links bridge institutional distances by utilizing the benefits of geographic and social proximity.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Broekel & Wladimir Mueller, 2017. "Critical links in knowledge networks. What about proximities and gatekeeper organizations?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1711, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jun 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1711

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    proximities; knowledge networks; gatekeeper; R&D subsidies; critical links;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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