Cluster emergence and network evolution A longitudinal analysis of the inventor network in Sophia-Antipolis
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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