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Cooperation networks and innovation: A complex system perspective to the analysis and evaluation of a EU regional innovation policy programme


  • Russo, Margherita
  • Rossi, Federica


Recent developments in innovation theory and policy have led policymakers to assign particular importance to supporting networks of cooperation among heterogeneous economic actors, especially in production systems composed of small and medium enterprises. Such innovative policies call for parallel innovations in policy analysis, monitoring and assessment. Our analysis of a policy experiment aimed at supporting innovation networks in the Italian region of Tuscany intends to address some issues connected with the design, monitoring and evaluation of such interventions. Combining tools from ethnographic research and social networks analysis, we explore the structural elements of the policy programme, its macroscopic impact on the regional innovation system, and the success of individual networks in attaining their specific objectives. This innovative approach allows us to derive some general methodological suggestions for the design and evaluation of similar programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Russo, Margherita & Rossi, Federica, 2008. "Cooperation networks and innovation: A complex system perspective to the analysis and evaluation of a EU regional innovation policy programme," MPRA Paper 10156, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10156

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathan Rosenberg, 2009. "Uncertainty and Technological Change," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies On Science And The Innovation Process Selected Works of Nathan Rosenberg, chapter 8, pages 153-172 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Lane, David & Malerba, Franco & Maxfield, Robert & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1996. "Choice and Action," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 43-76, February.
    3. Mytelka, Lynn K. & Smith, Keith, 2002. "Policy learning and innovation theory: an interactive and co-evolving process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1467-1479, December.
    4. Marghertta Russo & T. P. Hughes, 2000. "Complementary Innovations And Generative Relationships: An Ethnographic Study," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(6), pages 517-558.
    5. James Moody & Douglas R. White, 2000. "Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Conception of Social Groups," Working Papers 00-08-049, Santa Fe Institute.
    6. Marco Bellandi & Marco Di Tommaso, 2006. "The Local Dimensions of Industrial Policy," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Industrial Policy, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guan, Jiancheng & Chen, Kaihua, 2012. "Modeling the relative efficiency of national innovation systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 102-115.
    2. Rossi, Federica & Caloffi, Annalisa & Russo, Margherita, 2016. "Networked by design: Can policy requirements influence organisations' networking behaviour?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 203-214.
    3. Margherita Russo & Annalisa Caloffi & Federica Rossi, 2015. "Evaluating the performance of innovation intermediaries: insights from the experience of Tuscany’s innovation poles," Center for the Analysis of Public Policies (CAPP) 0121, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    4. Margherita Russo & Annalisa Caloffi & Federica Rossi & Riccardo Righi, 2016. "Designing performance-based incentives for innovation intermediaries: Evidence from regional innovation poles," Working Papers 34, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Nov 2016.
    5. Federica Rossi & Annalisa Caloffi & Margherita Russo, 2013. "Networked by design: Can policy constraints support the development of capabilities for collaborative innovation?," Management Working Papers 5, Birkbeck Department of Management, revised Jul 2013.
    6. Giuliani, Elisa & Pietrobelli, Carlo, 2014. "Social Network Analysis Methodologies for the Evaluation of Cluster Development Programs," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    7. Annalisa Caloffi & Federica Rossi & Margherita Russo, 2013. "Does participation in innovation networks improve firms' relational abilities? Evidence from a regional policy framework," DRUID Working Papers 13-07, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.

    More about this item


    Innovation policy; cooperation networks; evaluation; regional development; SMEs production systems; complex systems;

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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