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Gatekeepers in regional networks of innovators


  • Holger Graf

    () (Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, School of Business and Economics)


The internal density of a local network is said to increase the region-specific knowledge-stock and might lead to a comparative advantage. However, it might also lead to a lock-in situation, if local trajectories are directed towards inferior solutions. Accordingly it is argued that successful clusters are characterised by the existence of gatekeepers, i.e. actors that generate novelty by drawing on local and external knowledge. We attempt to answer questions related to the role and characteristics of gatekeepers within regional innovation systems by applying social network analysis based on patent data for four East-German regions. The regional networks appear to be significantly different with respect to the overall degree of interaction and with respect to their relative outward orienta- tion. Concerning the characteristics of gatekeepers, we find that size does not play the major role for being a gatekeeper. It is rather absorptive capacity that matters for gatekeepers. It also shows that public research organisations serve the functions of a gatekeeper to a higher degree than private actors.

Suggested Citation

  • Holger Graf, 2007. "Gatekeepers in regional networks of innovators," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-054, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2007-054

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Innovator networks; Gatekeeper; R+D co-operation; Scientist mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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