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Intra firm and extra firm networks in the German knowledge economy. Economic development of German agglomerations from a relational perspective


  • Michael Bentlage


  • Alain Thierstein
  • Stefan Lüthi


Flows and inter-linkages between and within polycentric metropolitan regions have become a fundamental topic in regional sciences. The knowledge economy as a primary driver of spatial restructuring is forming these relations by generating knowledge within a spatially fine graded division of labor. This process drives companies to cooperate in intra firm and extra firm networks which in turn evoke patterns of interdependent spatial entities. The aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, we analyze spatial patterns within these firm networks and secondly we combine this network approach with the development of the economic and spatial structure of German agglomerations. Inspired by formal social network analysis and spatial association statistics we apply methods to discover spatial clustering within relational data. We assume that relations between and within polycentric Mega-City Regions in Germany and its neighboring areas constitute a new form of hierarchical urban systems. Network analysis will help to detect locations of high centrality; cluster analyses of location-based data may show specific regional patterns of connectivity. We hypothesize that the position of locations within the functional urban hierarchy depends on the spatial scale of analysis: global, European, national or regional. Furthermore, we combine this relational perspective with an analysis of the economic development within these spatial entities. Here we assume that intensive interaction between functional urban areas has a high influence on their performance over time with regard to output indicators like labor, value-added and gross domestic product. Therefore we apply methods of spatial and network autocorrelation. We hypothesize that relational proximity influences economic development more intensively than effects of agglomeration and geographical proximity do.

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  • Michael Bentlage & Alain Thierstein & Stefan Lüthi, 2011. "Intra firm and extra firm networks in the German knowledge economy. Economic development of German agglomerations from a relational perspective," ERSA conference papers ersa11p998, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p998

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    1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    2. James Simmie, 2003. "Innovation and Urban Regions as National and International Nodes for the Transfer and Sharing of Knowledge," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 607-620.
    3. Alain Thierstein & Stefan Luthi & Christian Kruse & Simone Gabi & Lars Glanzmann, 2008. "Changing Value Chain of the Swiss Knowledge Economy: Spatial Impact of Intra-firm and Inter-firm Networks within the Emerging Mega-City Region of Northern Switzerland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(8), pages 1113-1131.
    4. Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila & Acs, Zoltan, 1997. "Local Geographic Spillovers between University Research and High Technology Innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 422-448, November.
    5. Bottazzi, Laura & Peri, Giovanni, 2003. "Innovation and spillovers in regions: Evidence from European patent data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 687-710, August.
    6. Timothy Sturgeon & Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Gary Gereffi, 2008. "Value chains, networks and clusters: reframing the global automotive industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 297-321, May.
    7. Stefan Luethi & Alain Thierstein & Michael Bentlage, 2011. "Interlocking firm networks in the German knowledge economy. On local networks and global connectivity," ERSA conference papers ersa10p120, European Regional Science Association.
    8. James Faulconbridge, 2007. "Global shift. Mapping the changing contours of the world economy (5th edition)," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(6), pages 599-779, November.
    9. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2009. "Mobility of skilled workers and co-invention networks: an anatomy of localized knowledge flows," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 439-468, July.
    10. Martin Sokol & Chris Van Egeraat & Brendan Williams, 2008. "Revisiting the 'Informational City': Space of Flows, Polycentricity and the Geography of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services in the Emerging Global City-Region of Dublin," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(8), pages 1133-1146.
    11. Michael Bentlage & Stefan Lüthi & Alain Thierstein, 2011. "Accessibility of German agglomerations. An approach with non-physical connectivity," ERSA conference papers ersa10p447, European Regional Science Association.
    12. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
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