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The Geography of Unconventional Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Ruben Gaetani

    (Northwestern University)

  • Enrico Berkes

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

Using a newly assembled dataset of narrowly georeferenced patents, we document that innovation activity is not as concentrated in densely populated areas as commonly believed: suburban regions are responsible for a substantial share of the innovation produced. Nevertheless, high-density areas disproportionately generate innovation of unconventional nature. We provide causal evidence for a mechanism that can generate this pattern: unconventional ideas are more likely to emerge when people interact in a dense and technologically diverse environment. An endogenous growth model with heterogeneous innovation and spatial sorting reveals that optimal place-based policy in the U.S. would foster urbanization to promote unconventional ideas, at the cost of sacrificing growth and inducing higher congestion.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruben Gaetani & Enrico Berkes, 2015. "The Geography of Unconventional Innovation," 2015 Meeting Papers 896, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:896
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2015/paper_896.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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