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KIBS and industrial development of cities.Labour mobility, innovation and client interaction


  • Heidi Wiig Aslesen


  • Arne Isaksen


  • Lasse Sigbjørn Stambøl



The paper departs from a seemingly disagreement between theoretical propositions stressing the importance of the KIBS sector as an innovation agent, and empirical results from quantitative innovation surveys. KIBS are increasingly seen to have a strategic role in stimulating innovation processes, particularly in large cities. However, the alleged importance of KIBS does not show up in empirical surveys. The surveys generally regard KIBS (or consultancy firms) to be of less importance as information sources and innovation partners. The paper somewhat supports the conclusions from the empirical surveys, pointing to the fact that parts of the literature attach larger importance to the role of KIBS in innovation processes than can be confirmed by empirical results. However, the low importance attached to KIBS in quantitative surveys may rely on the fact that surveys only seize some of the roles played by KIBS in innovation processes. Surveys do not map, for example, knowledge spillovers occurring through the mobility of workers. The paper demonstrates that many workers left the KIBS sector in Norway to start working in other sectors during parts of the 1990s, signifying a flow of knowledge following the workers out of the KIBS sector. However, the paper also demonstrates that the flow of knowledge via labour mobility first of all benefits the most central parts of Norway. Less knowledge is seen to flow from the KIBS sector in Oslo and the other large cities to other industries and other parts of the country.

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  • Heidi Wiig Aslesen & Arne Isaksen & Lasse Sigbjørn Stambøl, 2004. "KIBS and industrial development of cities.Labour mobility, innovation and client interaction," ERSA conference papers ersa04p475, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p475

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2002. "The elusive concept of localization economies: towards a knowledge-based theory of spatial clustering," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(3), pages 429-449, March.
    2. Grete Rusten, 2000. "Geography of outsourcing: business service provisions among firms in Norway," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 91(2), pages 122-134, May.
    3. Birgitte Gregersen & Bjorn Johnson, 1997. "Learning Economies, Innovation Systems and European Integration," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 479-490.
    4. P.W. Daniels & J.R. Bryson, 2002. "Manufacturing Services and Servicing Manufacturing: Knowledge-based Cities and Changing Forms of Production," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 39(5-6), pages 977-991, May.
    5. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
    6. Lasse Sigbjørn Stambøl, 2003. "Urban and regional labour mobility performance in Norway," ERSA conference papers ersa03p364, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Edward E Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(4), pages 641-665, December.
    8. Arne Isaksen & Bjørn T. Asheim, "undated". "Location, agglomeration and innovation: Towards regional innovation systems in Norway?," STEP Report series 199613, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
    9. Desmarchelier, Benoît & Djellal, Faridah & Gallouj, Faïz, 2013. "Knowledge intensive business services and long term growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 188-205.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burak Beyhan, 2011. "Spatial Characteristics of Labor Mobility and Innovation inside an Industrial Cluster: Some Reflections from Siteler in Ankara," ERSA conference papers ersa10p421, European Regional Science Association.

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