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Innovating in the periphery: Firms, values, and innovation in Southwest Norway

How do peripheral and relatively isolated regions innovate? Recent research has tended to stress the importance of agglomeration economies and geographical proximity as key motors of innovation. According to this research, large core areas have significant advantages with respect to peripheral areas in innovation potential. Yet, despite these trends, some remote areas of the periphery are remarkably innovative even in the absence of critical innovation masses. In this paper we examine one such case – the region of Southwest Norway – which has managed to remain innovative and dynamic, despite having a below average investment in R&D in the Norwegian context. The results of the paper highlight that innovation in Southwest Norway does not stem from agglomeration and physical proximity, but from other types of proximity, such as cognitive and organizational proximity, rooted in soft institutional arrangements. This suggests that the formation of regional hubs with strong connections to international innovative networks may be a way to overcome peripherality in order to innovate.

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Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2009-13.

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Date of creation: 09 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in European Planning Studies 19(4), April 2011: 555-574
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2009-13
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