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Related variety, unrelated variety and the novelty content of firm innovation in urban and non-urban locations

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  • Marte C.W. Solheim
  • Ron Boschma
  • Sverre Herstad

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether the composition of experience-based knowledge accumulated by firms in urban and rural locations is reflected in the novelty content of their innovations. Looking at the manufacturing industry, and using Norwegian Linked Employer- Employee register data (LEED) merged with Community Innovation Survey (CIS) data, we find that unrelated experience variety within firms increases the probability of radical innovation, independently of firms' location, whereas related variety increases the probability of incremental innovation in large-city regions. These results demonstrate that innovation capacity cannot be understood from the single perspective of R&D efforts and strategy as it also depends on experiences accumulated in 'entire organizations' and the locations in which accumulation occurs. Moreover, they suggest that for manufacturing firms, urban locations are not hot spot for radical change. Instead, they support incremental innovative activities by facilitating effective sharing of knowledge between related sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Marte C.W. Solheim & Ron Boschma & Sverre Herstad, 2018. "Related variety, unrelated variety and the novelty content of firm innovation in urban and non-urban locations," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1836, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Oct 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1836
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; Diversity; Innovation; Related Variety; Unrelated Variety; Urban; Rural;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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