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Technological Diversity and Jacobs' Externality Hypothesis Revisited

  • Ejermo, Olof

    ()

    (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

Recent empirical evidence strongly supports Jacobs’ (1969) externality hypothesis, that urban diversity provides a more favorable environment for economic development. In order to correctly gauge Jacobs’ hypothesis, economic development should be understood as a result of innovations. Furthermore, it is argued that a relevant diversity-measure should take into account the degree of diversity between the inherent classes (e.g. pharmaceuticals are closer to chemicals than to forestry). These ideas are tested using regionally classified Swedish patent application data as a measure of innovativeness. Patent data are also used to reflect technological diversity. Recent empirical evidence strongly supports Jacobs’ (1969) externality hypothesis, that urban diversity provides a more favorable environment for economic development. In order to correctly gauge Jacobs’ hypothesis, economic development should be understood as a result of innovations. Furthermore, it is argued that a relevant diversity-measure should take into account the degree of diversity between the inherent classes (e.g. pharmaceuticals are closer to chemicals than to forestry). These ideas are tested using regionally classified Swedish patent application data as a measure of innovativeness. Patent data are also used to reflect technological diversity. The results show that the number of patent applications in Swedish regions is highly and positively dependent on regional technological specialization, quite the opposite to Jacobs’ prediction. The paper raises general questions about earlier empirical results. It is concluded that the size of regions is important is an important factor to consider, since this in itself may affect patenting intensity and technological diversity.

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Paper provided by Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation with number 16.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 29 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0016
Note: Accepted for publication in Growth and Change
Contact details of provider: Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 790 95 63
Web page: http://www.infra.kth.se/cesis/
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  25. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
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