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Regional innovation systems revisited: networks, institutions, policy and complexity

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  • Elvira Uyarra

Abstract

Despite the popularity of the concept 'regional innovation system' (RIS) in the academic literature and in policy practice, multiple interpretations and uses of the term coexist. For instance while some scholars view RIS as subsystems of national or sector-based systems presenting particular spatial features, other portray them as smaller-scale versions of national systems (Lagendijk, 1999; Howells, 1999; Iammarino, 2005, Uyarra, 2010). Doloreux & Parto (2005) identify three dimensions of regional innovation systems, namely: the interactions between different actors in the innovation process, the role of institutions, and the use of regional innovation systems analysis to inform policy decisions. More generally, Werker & Athreye (2004) differentiate between micro and meso approaches explaining regional innovation; while the former concentrate on the entrepreneurial behaviour of innovative firms, the latter focus on the structural elements manifested in the institutional set-up of regional and industrial systems. Boschma & Frenken (2006) distinguish between institutional and evolutionary views to innovation and geography as alternatives to neoclassical views. Related literature on national innovation systems (NIS) is no less heterogeneous, with numerous usages and interpretations (Miettinen, 2002; Balzat & Hanusch, 2004; Sharif, 2006; Lundvall, 2007). Despite the popularity of the concept ‘innovation system’ in the academic literature and in policy practice, the term itself remains ambiguous (Doloreux & Parto 2005; Uyarra, 2010). This fuzziness (Markusen, 2003), even ‘black boxing’ of the term, may have obscured certain aspects influencing regional development while overstating others (Uyarra & Flanagan, 2010).

Suggested Citation

  • Elvira Uyarra, 2011. "Regional innovation systems revisited: networks, institutions, policy and complexity," Openloc Working Papers 1113, Public policies and local development.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1113
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    1. Kurt Dopfer & John Foster & Jason Potts, 2004. "Micro-meso-macro," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 263-279, July.
    2. Markus Balzat & Horst Hanusch, 2004. "Recent trends in the research on national innovation systems," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 197-210, June.
    3. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    4. Claudia Werker & Suma Athreye, 2004. "Marshall’s disciples: knowledge and innovation driving regional economic development and growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 505-523, December.
    5. Elisa Giuliani, 2007. "The selective nature of knowledge networks in clusters: evidence from the wine industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 139-168, March.
    6. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2006. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 273-302, June.
    7. Ann Markusen, 2003. "Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 701-717.
    8. Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2009. "Some Notes on Institutions in Evolutionary Economic Geography," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(2), pages 151-158, April.
    9. Markus Balzat & Horst Hanusch, 2003. "Recent Trends in the Research on National Innovation Systems," Discussion Paper Series 254, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    10. Gernot Grabher & David Stark, 1997. "Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 533-544.
    11. Koen Frenken, 2006. "Technological innovation and complexity theory," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 137-155.
    12. Danny MacKinnon & Andrew Cumbers & Andy Pike & Kean Birch & Robert McMaster, 2009. "Evolution in Economic Geography: Institutions, Political Economy, and Adaptation," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(2), pages 129-150, April.
    13. Koen Frenken & Frank Van Oort & Thijs Verburg, 2007. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 685-697.
    14. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder & Anne ter Wal, 2008. "Innovator networks and regional knowledge base," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-042, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    15. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
    16. Flanagan, Kieron & Uyarra, Elvira & Laranja, Manuel, 2011. "Reconceptualising the 'policy mix' for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 702-713, June.
    17. Kevin Morgan, 1997. "The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 491-503.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Stuck & Tom Broekel & Javier Revilla Diez, 2016. "Network Structures in Regional Innovation Systems," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 423-442, March.
    2. Trippl , Michaela & Grillitsch , Markus & Isaksen , Arne & Sinozic , Tanja, 2015. "Understanding Cluster Evolution," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/46, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    3. Riccardo Crescenzi, 2014. "The evolving dialogue between Innovation and Economic Geography. From physical distance to non-spatial proximities and 'integrated' frameworks," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1408, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Mar 2014.
    4. Cocchi, Andrea, 2011. "Business models as systemic instruments for the evolution of traditional districts?," MPRA Paper 33766, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Niinikoski, Marja-Liisa & Moisander, Johanna, 2014. "Serial and comparative analysis of innovation policy change," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 69-80.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional systems of innovation; institutions; innovation policy;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • 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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