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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 Economic Research Papers 2020-003, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2020-003
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    Cited by:

    1. Ron Boschma & Ernest Miguelez & Rosina Moreno & Diego B. Ocampo-Corrales, 2021. "Technological breakthroughs in European regions: the role of related and unrelated combinations," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2118, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jun 2021.
    2. Tavassoli, Sam & Obschonka, Martin & Audretsch, David B., 2021. "Entrepreneurship in Cities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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:

    • 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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