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Is innovation (increasingly) concentrated in large cities? An international comparison

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  • Michael Fritsch

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), Germany.)

  • Michael Wyrwich

    (University of Groningen, The Netherlands and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.)

Abstract

We investigate the geographic concentration of patenting in large cities using a sample of 14 developed countries. There is wide dispersion of the share of patented inventions in large metropolitan areas. South Korea and the US are two extreme outliers where patenting is highly concentrated in large cities. We do not find any general trend that there is a geographic concentration of patents for the period 2000-2014. There is also no general trend that inventors in large cities have more patents than in rural areas (scaling). Hence, while agglomeration economies of large cities may offer advantages for innovation activities, the extent of these advantages is not very large. We conclude that popular theories over-emphasize the importance of large cities for innovation activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2020. "Is innovation (increasingly) concentrated in large cities? An international comparison," Jena Economics Research Papers 2020-003, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2020-003
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    2. Tavassoli, Sam & Obschonka, Martin & Audretsch, David B., 2021. "Entrepreneurship in Cities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
    3. Patrycjusz Zarębski & Małgorzata Czerwińska-Jaśkiewicz & Maria Klonowska-Matynia, 2022. "Innovation in Peripheral Regions from a Multidimensional Perspective: Evidence from the Middle Pomerania Region in Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-18, July.
    4. Carlos Bianchi & Pablo Galaso & Sergio Palomeque, 2023. "Knowledge complexity and brokerage in inter-city networks," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 1773-1799, October.
    5. Robert Huggins & Piers Thompson, 2024. "Understanding the contemporary history of urban economic change: The case of entrepreneurial innovation," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), March.
    6. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2021. "Does Successful Innovation Require Large Urban Areas? Germany as a Counterexample," Economic Geography, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 97(3), pages 284-308, May.
    7. Tom Broekel & Louis Knuepling & Lars Mewes, 2023. "Boosting, sorting and complexity—urban scaling of innovation around the world," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 979-1016.
    8. Rhoden, Imke, 2020. "Innovating in Krugman’s Footsteps – Where and How Innovation Differs in Europe: Static Innovation Indicators for Identifying Regional Policy Leverages," EconStor Preprints 218875, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    9. Chattergoon, B. & Kerr, W.R., 2022. "Winner takes all? Tech clusters, population centers, and the spatial transformation of U.S. invention," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(2).
    10. Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose & Jamie Griffiths, 2021. "Developing intermediate cities," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 441-456, June.
    11. Doloreux, David & Shearmur, Richard, 2023. "Does location matter? STI and DUI innovation modes in different geographic settings," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    12. Henriette Ruhrmann & Michael Fritsch & Loet Leydesdorff, 2020. "Smart Specialization Strategies at National, Regional, or Local Levels? Synergy and Policy-making in German Systems of Innovation," Jena Economics Research Papers 2020-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    13. Dariusz Maslowski & Ewa Kulinska, 2020. "The Method to Compare Cities to Effective Management of Innovative Solutions," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(Special 1), pages 309-322.
    14. Eva Coll‐Martínez & Elisenda Jové‐Llopis & Mercedes Teruel, 2022. "The city of start‐ups: Location determinants of start‐ups in emergent industries in Barcelona," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 972-1007, June.
    15. Melissa Haller & David L. Rigby, 2020. "The geographic evolution of optics technologies in the United States, 1976–2010," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(6), pages 1539-1559, December.
    16. Grillitsch, Markus & Sotarauta, Markku & Asheim, Björn & Fitjar, Rune Dahl & Haus-Reve, Silje & Kolehmainen, Jari & Kurikka, Heli & Lundquist, Karl-Johan & Martynovich, Mikhail & Monteilhet, Skirmante, 2022. "Agency and Economic Change in Regions: Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to identify Routes to New Path Development," Papers in Innovation Studies 2022/5, Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research.
    17. Martin Andersson & Johan E. Eklund & Alexandra Tsvetkova, 2023. "Spatial variations in financial constraints of SMEs—evidence from firm-level estimates of investment-cash flow sensitivities in Sweden," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 60(4), pages 1683-1698, April.
    18. Ron Boschma, 2021. "Designing Smart Specialization Policy: relatedness, unrelatedness, or what?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2128, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2021.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; patents; cities; urban scaling; creativity;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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