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The geographical processes behind innovation: A Europe-United States comparative analysis

  • Riccardo Crescenzi

    ()

    (Università degli studi Roma Tre)

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

  • Michael Storper

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

The United States and European Union differ significantly in terms of their innovative capacity: the former have been able to gain and maintain world leadership in innovation and technology while the latter continues to lag. Notwithstanding the magnitude of this innovation gap and the political emphasis placed upon it on both sides of the Atlantic, very little systematic comparative analysis has been carried out on its causes. The empirical literature has emphasised the structural differences between the two continents in the quantity and quality of the major 'inputs' to innovation: R&D investments and human capital. The very different spatial organisation of innovative activities in the EU and the US – as suggested by a variety of contributions in the field of economic geography – could also influence innovative output. This paper analyses and compares a wide set of territorial processes that influence innovation in Europe and the United States. The higher mobility of capital, population, and knowledge in the US not only promotes the agglomeration of research activity in specific areas of the country but also enables a variety of territorial mechanisms to fully exploit local innovative activities and (informational) synergies. In the European Union, in contrast, imperfect market integration, and institutional and cultural barriers across the continent prevent innovative agents from maximising the benefits from external economies and localised interactions, but compensatory forms of geographical process may be emerging in concert with further European integration.

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Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2007-13.

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Date of creation: 27 Apr 2007
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Geography 7(6), November 2007: 673-709
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2007-13
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  1. Peri, Giovanni, 2005. "Skills and Talent of Immigrants: A Comparison between the European Union and the United States," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt78t8m1n7, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
  2. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2003. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20008, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  4. Josephine Anne Stein, 2004. "Is there a European knowledge system?," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(6), pages 435-447, December.
  5. François VANDAMME, 2000. "Labour mobility within the European Union: Findings, stakes and prospects," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(4), pages 437-455, December.
  6. Attila Varga, 1998. "Local academic knowledge spillovers and the concentration of economic activity," ERSA conference papers ersa98p493, European Regional Science Association.
  7. Vernon Henderson, 1999. "Marshall's Economies," NBER Working Papers 7358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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