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Social Capital, R&D and Industrial Districts

Author

Listed:
  • Massimiliano Mazzanti

    (University of Ferrara)

  • Giulio Cainelli

    (University of Bari and CERIS-CNR)

  • Susanna Mancinelli

    (University of Ferrara)

Abstract

The main idea behind this paper is that social capital is not, as generally suggested by the socio-economic literature, an individual attitude towards something which does not imply privately appropriable economic benefits. Actually, SC might and should be interpreted as a public component of an investment which implies private and public benefits entangled with each other. In order to put forward this idea, a dynamic theoretical model that assumes social capital as the public component of the impure public good R&D is developed. It shows that the ‘civic culture’ of the district area in which the firm works is not sufficient as an incentive to increase its investment in social capital, because this investment strictly depends on the economic convenience of investing in the impure public good. Social capital /networking dynamics might positively and complementarily evolve only if the opportunity cost of investing in innovation is sufficiently low. We consequently focus our attention on a specialized industrial district located in the Emilia Romagna region – the biomedical district of Mirandola (Modena) – characterised by a strong pattern of innovative activity. Using a proxy for innovative activity as dependant variable, we observe that R&D and networking/social capital arise as complementary driving forces for innovation outputs. When empirical evidence confirms that this complementarity plays a key role, and consequently strong links exist between market and non-market dynamics relating to firms, the role for policy actions targeted to social capital is larger. The policy effort should be targeted toward both market and non-market characteristics taken together, rather than solely to the production of (local) public goods (social capital) or innovation inputs as independent elements of firm processes. The input of SC alone is not sufficient to ensure innovation and growth: economic incentives matter. On the other hand, whenever SC dynamics are crucial for R&D private investments, the effect of economic incentives depends on the presence and degree of their complementarity.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimiliano Mazzanti & Giulio Cainelli & Susanna Mancinelli, 2005. "Social Capital, R&D and Industrial Districts," Working Papers 2005.84, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.84
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Roberto Zoboli, 2006. "Examining the Factors Influencing Environmental Innovations," Working Papers 2006.20, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Giorgio Calcagnini & Germana Giombini & Francesco Perugini, 2016. "Bank Foundations, Social Capital, and the Growth of Italian Provinces," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 131, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    3. Riccardo Crescenzi & Luisa Gagliardi & Marco Percoco, 2013. "Social Capital and the Innovative Performance of Italian Provinces," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 45(4), pages 908-929, April.
    4. Andrea Ascani & Luisa Gagliardi, 2015. "Inward FDI and local innovative performance. An empirical investigation on Italian provinces," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(1), pages 29-47, February.
    5. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Gagliardi, Luisa & Percoco, Marco, 2011. "The bright side of social capital: how 'bridging' makes Italian provinces more innovative," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58545, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Waleed Omri & Audrey Becuwe, 2014. "Managerial characteristics and entrepreneurial internationalization: A study of Tunisian SMEs," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 8-42, March.
    7. Gurrieri, Antonia Rosa, 2008. "Knowledge network dissemination in a family-firm sector," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2380-2389, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; R&D; Technological innovation; Industrial districts;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • H49 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Other

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