IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • Elvira Uyarra

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).

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Public policies and local development in its series Openloc Working Papers with number 1113.

in new window

Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1113
Contact details of provider: Postal: Via Inama 5, 38100 Trento
Phone: +39-461-882201
Fax: +39-461-882222
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
  2. Kurt Dopfer & John Foster & Jason Potts, 2004. "Micro-meso-macro," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 263-279, 07.
  3. Ann Markusen, 1999. "Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 869-884.
  4. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2005. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0501, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
  5. Gernot Grabher & David Stark, 1997. "Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 533-544.
  6. 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.
  7. Uwe Cantner & Andreas Meder & Anne ter Wal, 2008. "Innovator networks and regional knowledge base," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-042, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  8. 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, 06.
  9. Flanagan, Kieron & Uyarra, Elvira & Laranja, Manuel, 2011. "Reconceptualising the 'policy mix' for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 702-713, June.
  10. Kevin Morgan, 1997. "The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 491-503.
  11. Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2008. "Some Notes on Institutions in Evolutionary Economic Geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0817, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Oct 2008.
  12. Koen Frenken, 2006. "Technological innovation and complexity theory," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 137-155.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  16. 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, 04.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1113. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Francesco Rentocchini)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.