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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.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2007-054.

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Date of creation: 10 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2007-054
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