Knowledge economics and underlying weaknesses in premises governing local policies on technology
In the literature, the local dimension of technology policies is often analysed from one dominant point of view, that of the localised character of knowledge externalities. It is nonetheless widely acknowledged that the globalisation process in the ‘knowledge economy’ has implicitly taken on a double (global and local) dimension. But even when this principle has been taken into account, problems still arise when it comes to determining any precise geographical limits. This paper seeks to question the present basis of public policies driving the technological field at the local level. The first part of this paper presents a critical appraisal of localisation analyses with regard to innovative activities exclusively based on the role of knowledge. This discussion leads us to recommend a methodological re-positioning in terms of ‘proximity economies’. In our second part, we endeavour to show that the former stress on local dimensions has brought about a ‘localist’ drift, which is identifiable if only through the insufficiencies of the line of argument upon which these policies are being founded. This leads us, in our third part, to show, on the basis of examples, that identifying the knowledge premises behind local technological policies will require fresh research, most certainly in a more institutional direction.