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Does Successful Innovation Require Large Urban Areas? Germany as a Counterexample

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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

Popular theories claim that innovation activities should be located in large cities because of more favorable environmental conditions that are absent in smaller cities or remote and rural areas. Germany provides a clear counterexample to such theories. We argue that a main force behind the geography of innovation in Germany is the country's federal tradition that has shaped the settlement structure, the geographic distribution of universities and public research institutions, as well as local access to finance. Additional factors that may play a role in this respect are the system of education and the tax treatment of inheriting a business. We demonstrate the long-lasting effect of the historical political structure and distribution of knowledge sources on innovation activities today. We conclude that historical factors that shape the settlement structure and location of knowledge sources are of key importance for the geographic location of innovation activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2020. "Does Successful Innovation Require Large Urban Areas? Germany as a Counterexample," Jena Economic Research Papers 2020-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2020-004
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Feldman, Maryann P. & Kogler, Dieter F., 2010. "Stylized Facts in the Geography of Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 381-410, Elsevier.
    2. Michael Fritsch & Ronney Aamoucke, 2013. "Regional public research, higher education, and innovative start-ups: an empirical investigation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 865-885, December.
    3. Philip McCann & Raquel Ortega-Argil�s, 2015. "Smart Specialization, Regional Growth and Applications to European Union Cohesion Policy," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(8), pages 1291-1302, August.
    4. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2018. "Regional knowledge, entrepreneurial culture, and innovative start-ups over time and space―an empirical investigation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 337-353, August.
    5. Audretsch, David B. & Lehmann, Erik E., 2016. "The Seven Secrets of Germany: Economic Resilience in an Era of Global Turbulence," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780190258696.
    6. Michael Fritsch & Dirk Schilder, 2008. "Does Venture Capital Investment Really Require Spatial Proximity? An Empirical Investigation," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 40(9), pages 2114-2131, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; patents; agglomeration economies; cities; Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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